Haggai and Zechariah: The Dynamic Duo
If you listen to your preacher’s sermon this Sunday, what will you hear him say? You will not hear him prophecy (or foretell the future), because God does not speak to anyone directly anymore. Because we now have God’s Word, prophets who foretell the future are no longer needed. You might say that a preacher’s main job on Sunday morning is to persuade people who are living in sin to turn away from their sin (repent), and to encourage us to live the way we should. This was also the duty of some of the prophets of the Old Testament. Haggai and Zechariah were teamed up to carry out this duty together, as well as to foretell of some future events.
For sixteen years after the Babylonian exile was over, construction of the temple had been put on hold. The people in Israel had let their personal affairs interfere with God’s business. Haggai very sternly scolded the people for building their own fancy houses and for saying that it simply was not the time to build Jehovah’s house. He also pleaded with the older people who had seen the former temple to remember how beautiful it was. The builders were motivated to work, and their faith was increased by Haggai’s message.
Zechariah was a younger man than Haggai. Rather than using strong and fiery sermons to motivate the people as Haggai had done, he encouraged them to work by showing them the future importance of the temple. He told them that there would be another temple that would be built by Christ. We know this temple to be the church (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). In Matthew 16:18, Jesus talked about the church he would build. With the idea that they were not just building a building, but building the future, the Jews were excited to work—for their Messiah was coming!
Haggai and Zechariah were very effective and successful at the task that God gave them to do. Let us always listen to and study the sermons that we hear, and be encouraged to be active Christians and work in the Lord’s kingdom.