Haggai [Hăg'gaī]—festal or born of a festival day. The tenth of the Minor Prophets, and the first of those to prophesy after the captivity (Ezra 5:1; 6:14).
All we know of Haggai is told us in the first verse of his book, where we have a description of himself and his message, which gives us a key to the whole of his ministry. Haggai was “The Lord’s messenger in the Lord’s message.” We reject the legend that he was an angel incarnate.
His name is suggestive and may imply that he was born on a Feast Day. Another meaning is “Jehovah hath quieted.” As a prophet, he was contemporary with Zechariah (Hag. 1:1; 2:1, 20; Zech. 1:1). He prophesied in the second year of the reign of Darius Hystaspes, King of Persia, sixteen years after Cyrus'decree permitting the rebuilding of the Temple. Compare Zechariah 1:1-11 with Ezra 4:24 and 5:1.
As a prophet, he preached righteousness and predicted the future. As a man, he was simple, strong in faith and bold in hope. He urged the people to work and be strong (Hag. 2:4), assuring them that when they began to build the Temple, God would begin to bless them.
The first message was one of stern rebuke (Hag. 1:1-11).
The second message was one of comfort and commendation (Hag. 1:12-15).
The third message was a cheering one of encouragement (Hag. 2:1-9).
The fourth message was an assuring one concerning cleansing and blessing (Hag. 2:10-19).
The fifth message was a steadying one associated with safety (Hag. 2:20-23).
Dr. Stuart Holden suggests that these five lessons can be gathered from Haggai:
I. Danger of lapsing into self-content, even after honest and sincere beginnings in the work of Christ.
II. That the time for blessing is always at hand. The people said: “The time has not come.” God said: “My time is an eternal now.”; The only hindrance to blessing lies in His people.
III. In the will of God for His people—particularly in respect to the great work of building His Temple—there is always a conjunction of precept and power, of duty and dynamic. The promises of God are “Yea and Amen” to those who are in Christ Jesus, walking in Him, and living in Him.
IV. The greatest of all mistakes is to leave God out in His own work. To live in the light of His presence is to build for eternity.
V. In the work to which we pledge ourselves as God’s children, the greatest need of all is for patience. We shall be opposed if our work is worth opposing; but the opposition of the Evil One is the opportunity to express our faith and loyalty toward God. “Our God is marching on. The best is yet to be; and we may reckon upon God.”