Temple Prophecies

Haggai 1.1

‘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.’

Zechariah ministered alongside Haggai in Jerusalem in 520 BC and in the years that followed. The remnant had returned to Jerusalem after the 70 years of captivity in Babylon. Babylon had fallen; the Medo-Persian Empire had taken over; and the Cyrus edict had been issued, proclaiming freedom to religious and other nationals, who had been captive in the empire of Babylon. Time had passed since a contingent of Jews had returned from Babylon under the leadership of Zerubbabel, the governor, and Joshua, the high priest. The building work had been started in 536 BC, but little progress had been made since then.

Haggai and Zechariah were therefore both sent to minister to the Jews in Jerusalem (Ezra 5:1; 6:14) and they overlap with each other, but they are ministering in very different ways. Haggai is sent to urge the people to take God’s command to rebuild seriously, and not to put their own interests first. He is a man of few and yet very effective words; the people respond to his message with alacrity and begin the work of rebuilding the temple.

Zechariah follows a different track. He is a priest, listed among those who served under Zerubbabel (Nehemiah 12:16), as well as being a prophet. His name means ‘Remembered of the Lord’. He is inspired to speak of future things very much more than Haggai, and he is also more of an apocalyptic prophet with visions that need explanation. His prophetic ministry begins between Haggai’s second and third prophecies, and he is later given a series of visions after Haggai’s final prophecy in the same year, and further prophecies after that.

Zechariah is not precisely quoted, but alluded to frequently, by the Lord in the New Testament. There are many famous expressions and statements of Christ, which run so close to the words of Zechariah that it is remarkable, and they are meant to be. Christ is obviously showing himself to be the fulfilment of these very prophecies. It is prophecy that includes much comfort to all different conditions of the Christian life.

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Related Resource: Christ Purges His Temple