Upon the return of the first group (536 BC) work began on the Temple. The altar of sacrifice was restored and the foundation for the new Temple was laid. However, at this point the people ceased their work. The city and houses and wall were all in ruins, the land had been neglected for 70 years and food was scarce.
Cyrus was succeeded by his son Cambyses (529-522 BC). After this king came Darius I (522-486 BC). Two years into his reign (520 BC), and 16 years after work had ceased on the Temple, God raised up the prophet Haggai “to combat apathy and depression by giving inspired leadership” for the reconstruction of the Temple. In this book that is called by his name you will meet a man of whom I call “God’s cheer leader.”
This group of exiles had lived in Babylon which is now Iraq. King Cyrus of Persia had conquered the Babylonians and allowed the Jews to return to their homeland. He told them to build their own Temple but they built an altar and foundation for the Temple and then stopped the work for 16 years. In the year of 520 B.C. Haggai told them it was time for them to finish what they had started. Haggai had showed them that God was angry with them. He cited three examples: Inflation─bad crops─bad weather. Haggai inspired them to get busy on the project and within 4 years it was completed.
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,
Under the edict of Cyrus, Zerubbabel and Joshua the high priest had led a group of 42,360 (Ezra 2:64) to Jerusalem. Upon their arrival they began building the temple but encountered opposition from the Arabians, Horinites and the Ammonites. Their propaganda was successful in stopping the work, no more work was done in the days of Cyrus, nor yet in the reign of his successors. During this same period the people lost heart and enthusiasm. They had anticipated prosperity and happiness. They had expected peace and plenty. They expected the blessings of God without any problems. Instead they faced ruined buildings, barren land, shortages and a hostile people. Their zeal waned and rebuilding became a matter of indifference. In the meantime some changes occurred: Darius took the throne and obstacles were removed─the original decree was found─every assistance was now offered─only one thing missing, “the will of the people.” God sends Haggai to stir up the people.
Ezr 5:1,2 When the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them,
2 then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them supporting them.
Zec 1:1 In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo saying,
Ezr 3:8 Now in the second year of their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak and the rest of their brothers the priests and the Levites, and all who came from the captivity to Jerusalem, began the work and appointed the Levites from twenty years and older to oversee the work of the house of the LORD.
Zec 4:6-10 Then he answered and said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.
7 ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”‘”
8 Also the word of the LORD came to me saying,:
9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will finish it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
10 “For who has despised the day of small things? But these seven will be glad when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel–these are the eyes of the LORD which range to and fro throughout the earth.”
2 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.
The LORD of everything says, ‘Everybody says that it is not time to build the house of the LORD.’ The word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai. He said, ‘You are living in good houses, but the house of the LORD is a ruin.’ The LORD of everything says, ‘Think again about what you are doing. You planted many seeds, but not much grew. There is not enough to eat. There is not enough to drink. Your clothes do not keep you warm. Your money bag is full of holes.’ The LORD of everything says: ‘Think again about what you are doing. This is a story of procrastination. Are we putting business, education or recreation or building our own house ahead of the Lords house?
· A few men build cities─the rest live in them.
· A few men project subways─the rest ride in them.
· A few men erect factories─the rest toil in them.
· A few men dream of foundations and skyscrapers─the rest live in them.
Remember that cowards never start.
The weak die on the way.
Only the strong come through!
Caesar saw Britain─not the grueling marches, treacherous tribes, and danger on every hand between him and his goal. He had an objective and a sense of direction. Napoleon saw Italy but not the Alps. Washington saw the Hessians at Trenton. A smaller man would have seen the ice-filled Delaware. (I Dare You p. 108)
Ezr 4:23,24 Then as soon as the copy of King Artaxerxes’ document was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and their colleagues, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews and stopped them by force of arms.
24 Then work on the house of God in Jerusalem ceased, and it was stopped until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Pro 22:13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside; I shall be slain in the streets!”
Ecc 11:4 He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.
3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
Haggai was a man of single vision─build the Temple!” His desire was to see the Temple reconstructed and their worship of God reinstituted. The people had become discouraged and, as a result, forgetful of God. They needed to prioritize their work. They were thinking of themselves─building their own houses, but not His! Haggai was sent as a motivator and edifier─Get your priorities right! Put God first, and He’ll take care of your other needs (Matthew 6:33).
This fired up prophet motivated the people and within three weeks and a few days the people began work on the Temple again.” One of the reasons for his success was his dependence on the Word of the Lord! Twenty-six times (in a book of only 38 verses!) he appeals to God as the authority and source of his message. Such expressions as “saith the Lord,” “declares the Lord of hosts,” and the like are very common. Haggai knew how to stir the people, move their hearts, and get results. God sent the right man at the right time for the right job. It got results then, and such preaching will get results today! The Temple was completed in 516 BC, twenty years after it was started and seventy years after it was destroyed in 586 BC (Ezra 6:15). This new Temple was desecrated in the time of Antiochus Epiphanies (168 BC), but later cleaned up. It was added on to by Herod the Great. While Ezekiel was in captivity he has a vision of the temple and that is the temple that is being rebuilt by Zerubbabel. It was essentially this same Temple that Jesus and the apostles entered time and again during their ministries.
4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?
They had become self-centered, satisfied with their own house, garden, and own pleasure. They had been back for 20 years and had made one attempt at building the temple and became discouraged and the work was halted. The foundation was a nagging reminder that they had neglected God and the prophets wouldn’t let them forget it!
Psa 74:7,8 They have burned Thy sanctuary to the ground; They have defiled the dwelling place of Thy name.
8 They said in their heart, “Let us completely subdue them.” They have burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
Jer 52:13 And he burned the house of the LORD, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every large house he burned with fire.
Lam 2:7 The Lord has rejected His altar, He has abandoned His sanctuary; He has delivered into the hand of the enemy The walls of her palaces. They have made a noise in the house of the LORD As in the day of an appointed feast.
Mic 3:12 Therefore, on account of you, Zion will be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins, And the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest.
Jer 26:18 “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah; and he spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, ‘Thus the LORD of hosts has said, “Zion will be plowed as a field, And Jerusalem will become ruins, And the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.”‘
Psa 132:3 “Surely I will not enter my house, Nor lie on my bed;
4 I will not give sleep to my eyes, Or slumber to my eyelids;
5 Until I find a place for the LORD, A dwelling place for the Mighty
One of Jacob.”
2Sa 7:2 that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains.”
Eze 24:21 ‘Speak to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I am about to profane My sanctuary, the pride of your power, the desire of your eyes, and the delight of your soul; and your sons and your daughters whom you have left behind will fall by the sword.
5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
Consider is used 5 times by Haggai in two short chapters.
Lam 3:40 Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the LORD.
Luk 15:17 “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!
6 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.
Man has blamed seed, weather and nature when all the time God was withholding his favor. The following scriptures will set the record straight.
Lev 26:20 ‘And your strength shall be spent uselessly, for your land shall not yield its produce and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit.
Deu 28:38-40 “You shall bring out much seed to the field but you shall gather in little, for the locust shall consume it.
39 “You shall plant and cultivate vineyards, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm shall devour them.
40 “You shall have olive trees throughout your territory but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives shall drop off.
2Sa 21:1 Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said, “It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.”
Psa 107:34 A fruitful land into a salt waste, Because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it.
Isa 5:10 “For ten acres of vineyard will yield only one bath of wine, And a homer of seed will yield but an ephah of grain.”
Jer 14:4 “Because the ground is cracked, For there has been no rain on the land; The farmers have been put to shame, They have covered their heads.
Hos 4:10 And they will eat, but not have enough; They will play the harlot, but not increase, Because they have stopped giving heed to the LORD.
Hos 8:7 For they sow the wind, And they reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; It yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up.
Joe 1:10-12 The field is ruined, The land mourns, For the grain is ruined, The new wine dries up, Fresh oil fails.
11 Be ashamed, O farmers, Wail, O vinedressers, For the wheat and the barley; Because the harvest of the field is destroyed.
12 The vine dries up, And the fig tree fails; The pomegranate, the palm also, and the apple tree, All the trees of the field dry up. Indeed, rejoicing dries up From the sons of men.
Amo 4:7-9 “And furthermore, I withheld the rain from you While there were still three months until harvest. Then I would send rain on one city And on another city I would not send rain; One part would be rained on, While the part not rained on would dry up.
8 “So two or three cities would stagger to another city to drink water, But would not be satisfied; Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.
9 “I smote you with scorching wind and mildew; And the caterpillar was devouring Your many gardens and vineyards, fig trees and olive trees; Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.
Mic 6:14-15 “You will eat, but you will not be satisfied, And your vileness will be in your midst. You will try to remove for safekeeping, But you will not preserve anything, And what you do preserve I will give to the sword.
Mic 6:15 “You will sow but you will not reap. You will tread the olive but will not anoint yourself with oil; And the grapes, but you will not drink wine.
Mal 2:2 “If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the LORD of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart.
Lev 26:26 ‘When I break your staff of bread, ten women will bake your bread in one oven, and they will bring back your bread in rationed amounts, so that you will eat and not be satisfied.
1Ki 17:12 But she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.”
Eze 4:16-17 Moreover, He said to me, “Son of man, behold, I am going to break the staff of bread in Jerusalem, and they will eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and drink water by measure and in horror,
17 because bread and water will be scarce; and they will be appalled with one another and waste away in their iniquity.
7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
The world is upside down today─we blame everything form ecology to theology. We blame everybody for everything but never blame ourselves. We spend more money on cars, clothes, cosmetics, TV, vacations, boats, golfing and pleasure than it would take to build a new church house. People will pay a dollar to see almost anything and then give a dime to the Lord.
8 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.
The prophet encourages the people to cut the timber in the forest of Lebanon and float it down to the sea port of Joppa and then transport it overland to the place of construction and then God would have pleasure in it and be glorified.
2Ch 2:8-10 “Send me also cedar, cypress and algum timber from Lebanon, for I know that your servants know how to cut timber of Lebanon; and indeed, my servants will work with your servants,
9 to prepare timber in abundance for me, for the house which I am about to build will be great and wonderful.
10 “Now behold, I will give to your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber, 20,000 kors of crushed wheat, and 20,000 kors of barley, and 20,000 baths of wine, and 20,000 baths of oil.”
Ezr 3:7 Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the Sidonians and to the Tyrians, to bring cedar wood from Lebanon to the sea at Joppa, according to the permission they had from Cyrus king of Persia.
Ezr 6:4 with three layers of huge stones, and one layer of timbers. And let the cost be paid from the royal treasury.
Zec 11:1-2 Open your doors, O Lebanon, That a fire may feed on your cedars.
2 Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, Because the glorious trees have been destroyed; Wail, O oaks of Bashan, For the impenetrable forest has come down.
1Ki 9:3 And the LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.
Psa 132:13-14 For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation.
14 “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it
9 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.
What they had brought home was wasted, as if the Lord had “blown upon it,” and driven it away! And the reason was, because they neglected the temple, and left it in ruins, while they were busy in building and decorating their own houses; therefore they were visited by drought and famine, and by various diseases.
Isa 17:10-11 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation And have not remembered the rock of your refuge. Therefore you plant delightful plants And set them with vine slips of a strange god.
11 In the day that you plant it you carefully fence it in, And in the morning you bring your seed to blossom; But the harvest will be a heap In a day of sickliness and incurable pain.
Isa 40:7 The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass.
Jos 7:11-13 “Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put themamong their own things.
12 “Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst.
13 “Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the LORD, the God of Israel, has said, “There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst.”
1Co 11:30-32 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.
31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.
Rev 2:22 ‘Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.
10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
Consider your ways─Man goes to church when convenient─it takes very little to make it inconvenient. Too hot, too cold, too wet. Friends, reunions, outing, too tired, not feeling well etc. Haggai was a prophet (holy man). He lived at the same time as Zechariah. Then, some people from Israel had returned from Babylon. They rebuilt their own houses in Jerusalem. Haggai explained why they were poor. He said that God was not blessing them because they had neglected His house.
Lev 26:19 ‘And I will also break down your pride of power; I will also make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze.
Deu 28:23-24 “And the heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron.
24 “The LORD will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.
1Ki 8:35 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against Thee, and they pray toward this place and confess Thy name and turn from their sin when Thou dost afflict them,
Jer 14:1-6 That which came as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah in regard to the drought:
2 “Judah mourns, And her gates languish; They sit on the ground in mourning, And the cry of Jerusalem has ascended.
3 “And their nobles have sent their servants for water; They have come to the cisterns and found no water. They have returned with their vessels empty; They have been put to shame and humiliated, And they cover their heads.
4 “Because the ground is cracked, For there has been no rain on the land; The farmers have been put to shame, They have covered their heads.
5 “For even the doe in the field has given birth only to abandon her young, Because there is no grass.
6 “And the wild donkeys stand on the bare heights; They pant for air like jackals, Their eyes fail For there is no vegetation.
Joe 1:18-20 How the beasts groan! The herds of cattle wander aimlessly Because there is no pasture for them; Even the flocks of sheep suffer.
19 To Thee, O LORD, I cry; For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, And the flame has burned up all the trees of the field.
20 Even the beasts of the field pant for Thee; For the water brooks are dried up, And fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
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.
National adversity is due to national disobedience. They had worked hard, but what had it earned them? Their crops were unsuccessful. Their money disappeared as soon as they earned it. Why? Haggai asked. Because they had mistaken their priorities and needed to put God first. They needed to rebuild his temple. Would rebuilding the temple change Israel’s financial situation? Haggai’s first words promised nothing. He simply said, “Give careful thought to your ways,” and pointed out that Israel’s lack of prosperity was God’s doing. They had worked hard, but God had withheld the rain their crops needed a month later (2:1-9) Haggai said that God had glorious plans for Israel, plans that would shake the whole earth. But he let Israel know that in order for them to expect God to guide their feet they would have to recalibrate their thinking.
Deu 28:22 “The LORD will smite you with consumption and with fever and with inflammation and with fiery heat and with the sword and with blight and with mildew, and they shall pursue you until you perish.
2Ki 8:1 Now Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, “Arise and go with your household, and sojourn wherever you can sojourn; for the LORD has called for a famine, and it shall even come on the land for seven years.”
Amo 5:8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion And changes deep darkness into morning, Who also darkens day into night, Who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the surface of the earth, The LORD is His name.
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.
Sometimes, at crucial moments, a single voice can stir a directionless mass of people to action. Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s inspiring oratory may have saved Britain in World War II. Consider the words of Haggai and you will see similar action. Consider your ways: more money is spent on alcohol than on education. More on pleasure than of food, more on foreign aid than social reform, more is spent on cat food, boats, TV and cosmetics than missions. They had lost the desire to appropriate and appreciate spiritual things. We need a season of conviction in the lives of God’s people. We need another Watergate revival like the one in Nehemiah 9 and 10. Pray that God will send us another Haggai.
Ezr 5:2 then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them supporting them.
Isa 55:10-11 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11 So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Psa 112:1 Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments.
Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Isa 50:10 Who is among you that fears the LORD, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.
Heb 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
13 Then spake Haggai the LORD’s messenger in the LORD’s message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.
Haggai was the messenger of the LORD. He spoke the message of the LORD.
Haggai told the people, ‘The LORD says, “I am with you.”
One of my favorite stories is the building of the Panama Canal. The world said that “It can’t be done.” America had purchased the Isthmus. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed George W. Goethals to build the canal. He had the reputation of never quitting. The world flippantly said, “Let George do it.” Colonel Goethals “put to the full test the fearless courage that was the measure of the man.” The canal was completed. “George did it.” But George didn’t do it without the help of another fearless man. William C. Gorgas, an American Army doctor was selected to fight malaria and yellow fever. He scanned the record of twenty thousand who had died from these pestilential diseases. One report showed that five hundred young engineers came from France to Panama and “not one lived to draw his first month’s pay.” Then began Dr. Gorgas’ most amazing campaign. He was ridiculed. Called a mosquito chaser; but Gorgas “concentrated his sleepless energies upon one single aim─the destruction of the infesting mosquitoes, and he won what was unquestionably the greatest triumph in preventive medicine. A campaign waged for less than six months wiped out a scourge that had afflicted this region for at least four hundred years.” Had he allowed ridicule and opposition to overcome his courage, the Panama Canal might not have been built. (I dare you (p.106,107)
Isa 44:26 Confirming the word of His servant, And performing the purpose of His messengers. It is I who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited!’ And of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built.’ And I will raise up her ruins again.
2Ch 15:2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the LORD is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.
2Ch 20:17 ‘You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you.”
Isa 8:10 “Devise a plan but it will be thwarted; State a proposal, but it will not stand, For God is with us.”
Isa 41:10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Isa 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.
Jer 15:20 “Then I will make you to this people A fortified wall of bronze; And though they fight against you, They will not prevail over you; For I am with you to save you And deliver you,” declares the LORD.
Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
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,
· The Lord of everything stirred up Zerubbabel!
· The Lord of everything stirred up Joshua!
· The Lord of everything stirred up the remnant!
1Ch 5:26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, even the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away into exile, namely the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and to the river of Gozan, to this day.
2Ch 36:22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia–in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah–the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,
Ezr 1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,
Ezr 1:5 Then the heads of fathers’ households of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and the Levites arose, even everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up and rebuild the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem.
Ezr 7:27-28 Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to adorn the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem,
28 and has extended loving kindness to me before the king and his counselors and before all the king’s mighty princes. Thus I was strengthened according to the hand of the LORD my God upon me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.
15 In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
By October 24th the people had responded to Haggai. Prophets before him, such as Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, had spoken for decades without seeing such a heartfelt reaction. Haggai’s messages span a mere four months, but he accomplished everything he set out to do. In four years the temple was complete. What made the temple so important? After all, the proper sacrifices and rituals could be carried out on a makeshift altar. But God’s reputation was at stake. He could not be properly honored so long as the house he called home lay in ruins. The temple symbolized God’s presence, and Israel’s priorities.
In addition to all this the Prophets had prophesied that the temple would be rebuilt in troublous times. See Daniel 9 and my comments in Daniel and the Revelation.