Background to Haggai and
In 586 B.C. the armies
of Babylon, under Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the
Temple built by Solomon, on the land purchased by King David, Mt. Moriah.
The Temple, the very house of God on earth, destroyed by a pagan army
was a sign to His people of His displeasure with their sin.
"But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which
I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, 20
"then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this
house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight,
and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 2 Chronicles
The Temple was
completed by Solomon in approximately 960 B.C., when it was completed
the Shekinah, the presence of God occupied the Temple and
And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that
the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not
continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord
filled the house of the Lord.
I Kings 8:10-11
This was a very
significant event, Godís very presence entered His Holy Temple, the
Jewish Encyclopedia sheds light on this understanding of Shekinah.
In the Targumim.
The majestic presence or manifestation of God which has descended to
"dwell" among men. Like Memra (= "word"; "logos") and "Yeḳara"
(i.e., "Kabod" = "glory"), the term was used by the Rabbis in
place of "God" where the anthropomorphic expressions of the Bible were
no longer regarded as proper (see Anthropomorphism). The word itself is
taken from such passages as speak of God dwelling either in the
Tabernacle or among the people of Israel (see Ex. xxv. 8, xxix. 45-46;
Num. v. 3, xxxv. 34; I Kings vi. 13; Ezek. xliii. 9; Zech. ii. 14 [A. V.
10]). Occasionally the name of God is spoken of as descending (Deut.
xii. 11; xiv. 23; xvi. 6, 11; xxvi. 2; Neh. i. 9). It is especially said
that God dwells in Jerusalem (Zech. viii. 3; Ps. cxxxv. 21; I Chron.
xxiii. 25), on Mount Zion (Isa. viii. 18; Joel iv. [A. V. iii.] 17, 21;
Ps. xv. 1, lxxiv. 2), and in the Temple itself (Ezek. xliii. 7).
Nature of the Shekinah.
Maimonides ("Moreh," i. 28 [Munk's translation, "Guide des Egarťs," i.
58, 73, 88, 286, 288; iii. 43, 93]; Maybaum, l.c. pp. 5, 34)
regarded the Shekinah, like the Memra, the Yeḳara, and the Logos, as a distinct entity, and as a
light created to be an intermediary between God and the world; while Naḥmanides (Maybaum, l.c.), on the other hand,
considered it the essence of God as manifested in a distinct form.
importance of the Temple and its relationship with the nation of Israel
cannot be understated. Prior to the Temple, Godís presence dwelt in the
Tabernacle, So Israelís history stretching back to the Exodus revolves
around the Arc of the Covenant and the Temple, which
housed the Arc.
From the Time of
Solomon, to the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70, Israelís
history can be divided into Temple Periods. The First Temple Period,
lasted from approximately 960 B.C. to 586 B.C., the Second Temple from
516 B.C. to A.D. 70.
Zechariah, Haggai and Malachi were the prophets
of the Second Temple period. They wrote to encourage Israel and Judah,
after they were allowed to return to the land. Central to both Haggai
and Zechariah was the Temple and its reconstruction.
The Second Temple construction was started about 536 B.C., but
because of political intrigue on the part of those opposed to Jewish
presence and a Temple in Jerusalem, construction was stalled. The Lord
sent both Haggai and Zechariah to encourage Israel to start Temple
The Second Temple was less glorious in its physical appearance
then Solomonís Temple, at its completion those who remembered the First
Temple, regarded the second as inferior.
3 'Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how
do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as
nothing? Haggai 2;3
The Second Temple lacked the Shekinah, it also lack the Arc of
the Covenant, but the Second Temple was promised to have a greater
glory then the first. How and when did the Second Temple have greater
glory then the first? The Second Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70?
"For thus says the Lord of hosts: 'Once more (it is a little while) I
will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; 7 'and I will shake
all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I
will fill this temple with glory,' says the Lord of hosts. 8 'The silver
is Mine, and the gold is Mine,' says the Lord of hosts. 9 'The glory
of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,' says the
Lord of hosts. 'And in this place I will give peace,' says the Lord of
hosts." Haggai 2:6-9
How could the 2nd
Temple be more glorious then the 1st Temple?
The Messiah, who is God
incarnated as man was at the Second Temple, when Jesus Christ, entered
His Temple, as opposed the First Temple, which had limited access to the
Shikinah, here Godís presence in the Messiah entered and became
the sacrifice of the 2nd Temple.
1: The reference to ďthe gloryĒ of the Second Temple is
referring to the splendor of the Second Temple, which surpassed the
First Temple in the days of Herod!
Jewish Encyclopedia quoting the Talmud lists what the Second Temple
According to the
Babylonian Talmud (Yoma 22b), the Second Temple lacked five things which
had been in Solomon's Temple, namely, the Ark, the sacred fire, the
Shekinah, the Holy Spirit, and the Urim and Thummim.
compare the physical attributes of a building with Godís glory
diminishes the value of Godís presence. We read in 2nd
Chronicles 7, how the LORDís Presence of Israel, consumed the
sacrifice offered by Solomon. Nothing like this happened in the 2nd
Temple, yet we read the glory 2nd Temple would surpass the 1st
1 When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and
consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the
Lord filled the temple.2 And the priests could not enter the house of
the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house. 3
When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the
glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on
the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying: "For He is
good, For His mercy endures forever."
II Chronicles 7
For this to happen, it would have had to occur by A.D. 70, when the
Romans under Titus destroyed the 2nd Temple. Malachi also prophesies a
significant event in the 2nd Temple. So when did the glory of
the 2nd Temple, exceed the 1st?
1 "Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is
coming," Says the Lord of hosts. 2 "But who can endure the day of His
coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's
fire And like launderer's soap. Malachi 3;1-2
Both Malachi and
Haggai wrote from the 2nd Temple period, which means there
words needed to be fulfilled prior to A.D. 70 when the Temple was
destroyed. Here Malachi tells us, the Lord (wda
the Messenger of the Covenant will come to His Temple.
Haggai tells us
about the glory of the 2nd Temple, results in peace, ď'And
in this place I will give peace,'
(Haggai 2;9). The glory pictured is not physical, but celestial glory,
which needed to be completed by A.D. 70.
Regarding the 1st
and 2nd Temple, we must ask these questions.
offered peace in the 2nd Temple, how was peace achieved?
did the Messenger of the Covenant visit His Temple?
did He appear, because we are told he would?
did the glory of the 2nd Temple exceed the glory of the 1st?
these questions can only be answered in the person of Yeshua the
Messiah, the Shekinah presence of God, who entered the 2nd
Temple, and was sacrificed for our peace, giving His life as a sacrifice
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our
iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His
stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
Yeshua talking about
himself and the Temple declared his superiority to the Temple. If
Yeshua, was not the Son of God, if he was not the Messiah he would be a
6 "Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the
temple. 7 "But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not
sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. "For the Son of
Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." Matthew 12:6-8
Jesus, (Yeshua) told
exactly what the scriptures (Haggai and Malachi) tell us would happen,
before the end of the 2nd Temple, a greater glory would come
to the Second Temple. Yeshua fulfilled that greater glory, bringing
peace to humanity through his death.