Haggai--Prophet of Tabernacles
Jul 24, 2008
Haggai was a "post-exilic prophet," which just means that he prophesied after the Babylonian captivity, or "exile." He prophesied in Jerusalem while the people were building the Second Temple. In fact, it was largely his ministry which stimulated the people to finish the work that had begun in 534 B.C. Because of opposition from other people in the area, the work had stopped for about 14 years.
Haggai's name is derived from the Hebrew word hag, "a feast, festival." This name itself revealed his calling, though the word does not specify which feast was his main focus. The essence of his writing, however, shows that his primary focus was the feast of Tabernacles, for Haggai 2:1 specifically dates a prophecy on the 7th day of Tabernacles, no doubt anticipating that the Temple would be glorified the next day.
Of course, that did not happen. But then, his prophecy did not actually state that this Second Temple would be glorified at that time. Even so, knowing how the Word of the Lord works, there is always enough ambiguity to make a person wonder if we are hearing the whole truth or getting partial information. The bottom line is that the Second Temple in Haggai's day was real enough on one level, but it was also a mere type of something greater yet to come. This is how we should understand Haggai 2:9,
"The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts, and in this place I shall give peace, declares the Lord of hosts."
In other words, the latter Temple was to be greater than Solomon's Temple. The expression, "this house," was no doubt assumed to be that Second Temple itself, but time proved otherwise. That next day came and went with no record of God's glory coming to that Temple, as it had in Solomon's Temple (on the 8th of Tabernacles).
We today have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and can see that this was a prophecy for another time and of another Temple. The real question for eschatologists today is whether this is a reference to a new Temple in old Jerusalem or the Temple revealed in Ephesians 2:19-22. I believe that we are that Temple prophesied by Haggai, and that any Temple built in Jerusalem will be a counterfeit, which will never be glorified by the presence of God.
Haggai's ministry is dated in the opening verse, "In the second year of Darius the king, on the first day of the sixth month."
The only way to know the date of this prophecy is to study history. It is important to know the years of Darius' reign in order to date Haggai's prophecy. And that is important, because his prophecy is linked to the important 2,520-year cycle. In fact, I believe that Haggai's ministry itself was really applicable 2,520 years later--the years 2001-2006 A.D.
First, this is not the same Darius mentioned in Daniel 5:31 and all of Daniel 6. That was Darius the Mede, the father-in-law of King Cyrus. Those were the two kings of Media and Persia who overthrew Babylon. Haggai's prophecy comes with a later Darius, king of Persia, who came to the throne in 522 B.C.
By their reckoning, the first (full) year of his reign was the year 521 B.C., and his second year was 520 B.C. Historians date Darius' reign by two lunar eclipses mentioned by the ancient writer, Ptolemy, who said that they occurred in the 20th and 31st year of the reign of Darius. Astronomers have calculated the precise moment that these eclipses occurred and the area in which they were visible. They occurred on Nov. 19, 502 B.C. and on April 25, 491 B.C.
That means the second year of Darius was the year 520 B.C. This is important, because 2,520 years later is the year 2001 A.D., one of the most important dates in modern American history. To me, it is the point where Haggai's ministry becomes truly applicable and finds its fulfillment.
I saw this by the late 1990's and wondered what might transpire at that time. Overall, I anticipated a time of completing the Temple work that had been "interrupted." You see, Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone of this New Temple (Eph. 2:20). When He was placed in the tomb, it was a prophetic act of laying the Cornerstone for this New Temple. Without His death and burial (and subsequent resurrection, of course), this New Temple could not be built upon it.
The "opposition," as it were, delayed the completion of this New Temple for a long time. Then in 2001, this work was renewed and was finished in 2006, which was 2,520 years after the completion of the Second Temple.
The work of building the Second Temple itself was completed on March 15, 515 B.C. We read in Ezra 6:15 that this was "the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king." However, the people waited until the feast of Tabernacles later that year to dedicate their Temple, according to the pattern of Solomon's Temple. On March 15, 2006, we did see a significant sign which marked the day, but the real time to watch was at Tabernacles of 2006.
The year 2001 is best remembered by the historic event of September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers fell. This was the beginning of divine judgment in America, the moment when America began moving toward its final date with Destiny. In the midst of the political upheavals transforming the nation into a security-minded police state, God has been preparing the final Living Stones for His Temple. The adverse conditions in America and in the world have provided much sandpaper to shape those Stones.
I wrote much more about Sept. 11, 2001 in my pocket size booklet, The 1986 Vision of the Two Gulf Wars. That booklet gives more background and context to this particular date, adding emphasis to its importance in prophetic history. In fact, that entire year was very important in that it was a year of intense spiritual warfare on behalf of the nation itself. It was revealed on January 22, 2001 that January 29 was our next "watch date," and that date proved to be the beginning. By the end of March we were told to pray a simple prayer, "God Bless America." Six months later, the whole nation was praying it.
The overall picture is this: Haggai's ministry is applicable 2,520 years from when he first prophesied. Its purpose is twofold: to complete the Temple, and to fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles. These are really two parts of the same work, because the Feast of Tabernacles is about glorifying His Temple, but the glory must await the completion of the Temple. Peter says that we are "living stones" in this corporate Temple (1 Pet. 2:5), and Paul says that we are being built up as a Temple upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20-22).
On the basis of the first work of Christ, we were given an earnest of the Spirit through Pentecost. The fullness of the Spirit at Tabernacles is the result of the second work of Christ, which is today nearly completed. The glory is not dependent upon a temple in Jerusalem, a place that God forsook "as Shiloh" (Jer. 7:11-15). Jerusalem is Hagar (Gal. 4:25), and the adherents of Judaism and Christian Zionism are the children of Hagar--that is, Ishmael--who can never bring forth the promise.
Perhaps the Israelis will grab the Temple mount and attempt to fulfill prophecy in a fleshly manner before God casts out Hagar and her son (Gal. 4:31). The spiritual children of Sarah and Hagar each have temples competing for God's glory. One is competing by fleshly means, the other by spiritual means. When these events are fulfilled, the truth will be confirmed officially. Those who have true understanding will be rewarded. Those of the flesh will be disappointed.
Dr. Stephen Jones