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Book of Haggai Lesson 1

© 1995, "Yes Lord" Ministries

Why ? Haggai

Haggai Lesson 1


Haggai is a book in the Old Testament of the Bible which is very essential to us today. Even though it records messages from the Lord Almighty which were given through the prophet, Haggai, in the year 520 BC, the principles related in these messages are still very relevant to us today.

So, get some colored pencils or pens (blue, purple, red, orange, etc.) and let's study this awesome book of Haggai. Let's find out what God, the Lord Almighty, said to His people, the Jewish exiles, who had recently returned to their homeland after their 70 year exile in Babylon. And, as we examine what God said to them through the prophet, Haggai, we will see what God is saying to us today.

Sound exciting? Want to study this wonderful Old Testament Book of Haggai? Well, then, let's get started.

And, as we begin, let's have a word of prayer together. So, pray with me:

"Father, as I turn now to look at this book of Haggai, I pray that you will show me what you want me to know. Help me to understand not only what you were saying to your people, who had recently returned from their exile in Babylon, but help me to also understand the principles that you were presenting to them. Help me to take these principles and apply them to my own life today, so that I will do what you desire and live in a way that will bring glory and honor to you.
Thank you, Father. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen."

For all of the assignments in all of the lessons that we will be doing in this course, you may use either your own Bible or you can print out the Scriptures from Bible Gateway in the version of your choice (KJV, NIV, NAS, Spanish, etc.).

OK, let's begin.

Your first assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to Read the book of Haggai and as you read, mark each occurrence of the phrase "Lord Almighty"as well as each occurrence of the word "God" and all words and / or pronouns such as I, my, mine, etc. which are used in place of that word or phrase by putting a BLUE circle around the word or words.

Also mark each occurrence of the word, "Haggai" (or words referring to him such as "I," "me," "my." etc). by putting an ORANGE (or color of your choice) "H" on the word.

OK, That is your assignment.You may begin.When you have finished, return here for your NEXT assignment.

.......Pause while you do this assignment......

Great! I see that you have finished your assignment. Wasn't that an interesting and exciting book! Yes! And it is filled with powerful messages and insights and applications for you and me today. As you can now confirm, having read it for yourself, there are some principles that certainly can and do apply not only to the people of 520 BC but also to us today.

But, before we get into a more in-depth study of these principles, let's review what we have already discovered from this first reading of Haggai. So, based on what you just read, answer the following questions:

1. Who 'spoke' the words of the Lord? (Who was the prophet?) (1:1)

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2. To whom did Haggai, the prophet, speak? (1:1 and 2:2)

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3. Who was Zeruabbel and what did he do? (1:1)

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4. Who was Joshua and what did he do? (1:1)

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Oh, by the way, here is an interesting side note. Joshua is a variant of the word Jeshua. Jeshua, of course, is a form of the name 'Jesus.' Just thought you'd want to know, if you didn't already.

5. When was the first message given? (year / day / month). (1:1)

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Ready for some more historical information? The date in this verse corresponds to August 29, 520 BC.

6. Were there any other messages?..........Circle the correct answer:....(yes......or ........no )

Well, obviously, you know from your first reading of the book of Haggai that there seemed to have been several messages, though you probably were not counting them at the time. But, you did notice that there were several, didn't you?

So, now we want to look at the different messages and find out how many there were and when they were given.

Your next assignment will be to once again read this short book of Haggai, and, this time, as you read, every time you see a specific date giving a NEW message, circle that date in RED. Then, in the margin, make a note (in red) of the message number.

As an example of how to do this, in 1:1 you would circle the phrase, "In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month" and then in the margin to the left of that verse, you would write "MESSSAGE # 1"

O.K. That is your assignment. You may begin. Return here when you are through.

.......Pause while you do this assignment.......

Great! Now that you have completed your assignment, you will be able to answer the following questions:

1. How many messages with a specific date and time were recorded in this book as having been given by God and reported through Haggai?

(circle the correct answer).....1........ 2........3........4

2. When were these messages given and what were the verses of each message.(fill in the chart below with your answers:) I will do the first one for you as an example.


MESSAGE # ................................DATE GIVEN.....................................VERSES

........1..........................2nd year of Darius /1st day/6th month ......................1:1-1
                                                August 29, 520 BC

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2

.

3

.

. 4

.

Correct, there were four specifically dated messages. And you probably noticed that there were often several messages or statements or words from the Lord Almighty within each of these four messages. However, technically, only four messages were given.

You will notice that there has been room left on the chart for you to add the dates of these messages as they pertain to our Calendar. If you would like to insert these dates, they are:

Message 1........... August 29, 520 BC

Message 2...........October 17, 520 BC

Message 3.......December 18, 520 BC

Message 4........December 18, 520 BC

Now, let's continue answering some questions based upon our reading of Haggai.

3. Over what period of time (how many months) were these four messages given?

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4. Were these messages all given within the same year ?

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5. In general, what were these messages concerning? In other words, what did the people need to do that they had not yet done after their return from their 70 year exile in Babylon?

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Here is some historical information which may aid you in better understanding your answer to the the previous question and in understanding the reason for this book of Haggai:


The Jewish Nation had been divided into two Kingdoms after the death of King Solomon in 930 BC:
1. The Northern Kingdom consisting of 10 tribes and with its capital in Samaria and
2. The Southern Kingdom consisting of 2 tribes (Benjamin and Judah) and with its capital in Jerusalem.

In 722 BC, the Northern Kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians and many were taken captive to Assyria.

The Southern Kingdom was conquered about 136 years later by the Babylonians in 586 BC. At that time, King Nebuchadnezzar totally destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. After this conquest, he took many of the Temple vessels and objects along with most of the Jewish people as captives with him back to Babylon.

Then, after these Jews had experienced 70 years of exile in Babylon, Babylon itself was defeated in 539 BC by the
Medo-Persian empire. Many of the Jews were then allowed to return to their homeland after having been given permission to return by Cyrus, King of Persia, who now ruled over the empire.

It was the very first group of ‘returnees’ that Haggai is addressing in the book. They had returned to Jerusalem in about 537 BC. (The actual date varies by about a year or two depending on what ‘authority’ you read, but it was generally accepted to have been between 538-537 BC when the first group returned, under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua.)

Immediately upon their return, they had begun to rebuild the temple which King Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed in 586 BC. However, they had stopped work on the temple after working only a few years. (Again, the exact number of years varies depending on which historical source you read, but most place the time of initial repair work as having been done during the years of about 537 to 530 BC). When they ceased their work (in about 530
BC), only the altar and the foundations of the temple had been completed.

So, now, in 520 BC, 17 years after their initial return, the Temple had not been completed.


With that bit of historical information, this next question will be simple, but it needs to be asked anyway, so here it is:

6. Who are the "these people" referred to in 1:2 ?

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Correct! the "these people" referred to in 1:2 are the Jews who had returned from Bablylon to Jerusalem and to their "promised land" after the 70 year exile in Babylon had ended.

Well, you have finished Lesson 1. But, we have only begun to study this fascinating book. So, don't quit now. See you in the next lesson!

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Scripture references marked NIV are from the Holy Bible: New International Version copyright 1973,1978,1984 by the International Bible Society Published by Zondervan Bible Publisher
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