FTER the Jews began rebuilding the temple, there began to arise a serious sadness in the hearts of the older generation. They had seen Solomon's temple in all of its glory. This second temple seemed like a rinky-dink irrelevancy when compared to that first structure. So, God sent Haggai with another message for them. He sent Haggai to encourage them. He sent Haggai to remind them that it is not the size of the temple that matters, but the size of the God who reveals Himself there. The temple of Zerubbabel (with all of its smallness) was greater than the temple of Solomon (in all of its glory) – if the difference was the approving presence of God (vs. 4-5). Additionally, Haggai prophesied that a greater temple would come in time (vs. 6-9). We know that temple to be the future temple of the Millennial reign of Christ.
In a separate message, Haggai dealt with a deeper issue. Using a couple of questions concerning the ritualistic laws of cleanness, Haggai reminded the people that God's standard of holiness is one of absolute perfection. It only takes one sin to pollute a holy life. Life under the law requires absolute rigor. In the case of the Jews of Haggai's day, their work on the temple did not offset their sinfulness. Instead, their transgressions contaminated their work (vs. 14). Due to their carnal desires, God had held back material blessings from the remnant who had returned from captivity (vs. 15-17). But that was about to change. God promised to pour out blessings upon His people in accordance with His grace (vs. 18-23).