The Lord Encourages the People
1On the 21st day of the seventh month, this message from the Lord came to Haggai: 2“Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the people. Say this: 3‘How many of you people look at this Temple and try to compare it to the beautiful Temple that was destroyed? What do you think? Does this Temple seem like nothing when you compare it with the first Temple? 4But the Lord says, “Zerubbabel, don’t be discouraged!” And the Lord says, “Joshua son of Jehozadak, you are the high priest. Don’t be discouraged! And all you people who live in the land, don’t be discouraged! Continue this work, because I am with you.” This is what the Lord All-Powerful said.
5“‘I made an agreement with you when you left Egypt, and I have kept my promise. My Spirit is with you, so don’t be afraid!’ 6This is what the Lord All-Powerful said, ‘In just a little while, I will once again shake things up. I will shake heaven and earth, and I will shake the sea and the dry land. 7I will shake up the nations, and they will come to you with wealth from every nation. And then I will fill this Temple with glory.’ That is what the Lord All-Powerful said! 8‘All their silver really belongs to me! And all the gold is mine!’ This is what the Lord All-Powerful said. 9And the Lord All-Powerful said, ‘This last Temple will be more beautiful than the first one, and I will bring peace to this place.’ Remember, this is what the Lord All-Powerful said.”
Today Begins a Time of Blessing
10On the 24th day of the ninth month in the second year Darius was king of Persia, this message from the Lord came to Haggai the prophet: 11“The Lord All-Powerful commands you to ask the priests what the law says about these things: 12‘Suppose a man carries some meat in the fold of his clothes. This meat is part of a sacrifice, so it is holy. If his clothes touch some bread, cooked food, wine, oil, or some other food, will the thing the clothes touch become holy?’”
The priests answered, “No.”
13Then Haggai said, “Whoever touches a dead body will become unclean. Now if they touch anything else, will it also become unclean?”
The priests answered, “Yes, it will become unclean.”
14Then Haggai said, “This is what the Lord God said: ‘This is also true for the people of this nation. They were not pure and holy before me. So anything they did with their hands and anything they offered at the altar became unclean.
15“‘Think about what has happened to you. Think about how things were before you began working on the Lord’s Temple. 16People wanted 20 measures of grain, but there were only 10 measures in the pile. People wanted to get 50 jars of wine from the wine vat, but there were only 20. 17That was because I punished you. I sent the diseases that killed your plants and the hail that destroyed the things you made with your hands. I did this, but still you did not come to me.’ This is what the Lord said.
18“The Lord said, ‘Today is the 24th day of the ninth month. You have finished laying the foundation of the Lord’s Temple. So notice what happens from this day forward: 19Your seed for planting is still in the barn. And look at the vines, the fig trees, and the pomegranate and olive trees. They have not yet produced any fruit. But beginning today, I will bless you.’”
20Another message from the Lord came to Haggai on the 24th day of the month. This is the message: 21“Go to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah and tell him that I will shake heaven and earth. 22And I will overthrow many kings and kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of those other people. I will destroy their chariots and their riders. I will defeat their war horses and riders. These armies are friends now, but they will turn against each other and kill each other with swords.” 23This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: “Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant, I have chosen you. I, the Lord, tell you that at that time I will use you like a signet ring to represent my authority!”
This is what the Lord All-Powerful said.