The Prophet Haggai and the Temple in Jerusalem
The Prophet Haggai made his appearance in Jerusalem around the year 520 B.C. Speaking in the Name of the Lord, he told the people to build a new Temple that would replace the former one. The former Temple in Jerusalem had been built in the tenth century B.C. during the reign of King Solomon, David's son, and it remained standing until the year 587 B.C.
The fall of the first Temple was the direct consequence of the Judaean king's rebellion against the Babylonians. When it was destroyed, the Ark of the Covenant, which was part of the holy Temple's Altar, disappeared, and the Jews were deported to Babylon.
In the year 538 B.C. and after forty-nine years of exile, the Jews in the regions of Babylon started returning to Jerusalem. This came about after the Persian overthrow of the Babylonian Empire. They built an Altar at the site of the first Temple for the purpose of worshipping God and offering sacrifices according to the Law of Moses. Some eighteen years later, around 520 B.C., the two prophets Haggai and Zechariah spoke in the Lord's name to the people in Jerusalem, telling them to start with the building of the second Temple.
While the people were completing the construction of the second Temple, Haggai spoke to them in the Lord's name, pointing out how the first Temple from King Solomon's reign had been so much greater in physical splendour. He then prophesied that the second Temple would become a place greater than the previous House of God, for all that it was more modest in structure. In the second chapter of Haggai's book, in verse 9, it is written, “The Glory of this latter House shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of Hosts.”
The Christian Faith teaches that this greater glory came about when Jesus entered the Temple in Jerusalem as Saviour among all nations. The Gospel that Jesus spoke, and the miracles he performed while preaching the Kingdom of Heaven, all came about during the period in which the second House of God was standing in Jerusalem.
The Spiritual Presence in the Temple
When Haggai prophesied to the people that the second House of worship would be greater than the former, he was referring to an event that would be greater than the spiritual presence witnessed during the dedication of the first Temple built under King Solomon.
The Old Testament gives an important account of how the Spirit of God filled the first Temple after the priests had carried the Ark of the Covenant into the Sanctuary. In first book of Kings, 8: 10-11, it is written: “As the priests were leaving the Temple, it was suddenly filled with a cloud shining with the dazzling light of the Lord's presence, and they could not go back in to perform their duties.”
This presence of the Lord had been a temporary manifestation, the like of which was not repeated four hundred years later in Haggai's days during the dedication of the second Temple. So if Haggai's words “The Glory of this latter House shall be greater than the former” were to come true, then a very special event was destined to take place within the second Temple, and this was to become manifest before the year 70 A.D., in a period when the building would still be standing.
The Prophet Malachi and the Temple in Jerusalem
The prophet Malachi lived and preached in the fifth century B.C., about one hundred years after the construction of the second Temple in Jerusalem. The books of both Haggai and Malachi are part of the Old Testament and count as Holy Scripture for Jews and Christians alike.
A prophecy from God on the coming of the Messiah to the Temple is recorded in Malachi's book, in verse 1 of the third chapter, where is written, “The Lord you are looking for will suddenly come to his Temple.”
These prophetic words are of great significance to people who believe that the Christ has already been among us to proclaim Salvation in the Name of God. And the prophet goes on to say: “The messenger you long to see will come and proclaim my covenant.” The covenant of God spoken of here is the Gospel that Jesus preached to the world, also known as the New Testament.
The Spirit from Heaven had descended upon Jesus at the time of his baptism in water, so when he entered the second Temple, he filled the place with a Glory even greater than had been witnessed during the dedication of the first House of God in 960 B.C.
Written by D. Alexander
- book of Haggai, Modern King James Version;
- book of Malachi, Rainbow Good News Bible 2004 edition, the Bible Societies/Collins;
- first book of Kings, Rainbow Good News Bible 2004 edition, the Bible Societies/Collins.
Read also: The New Temple in Jerusalem. The New Temple founded in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost is the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Apostolic Priesthood that comes from Zion in High.celticbritannia.blogspot.com/2012/01/new-temple-in-jerusalem.html
Read more: The High Priest Jesus. The Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, may be descended from the priestly Tribe of Levi.
Saint Peter's primacy from Zion: The Apostle Peter received his priestly authority from Zion the High City on the day of Pentecost. His authority does not come from Rome.