Haggai 1–2

Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2003), 211–12


Introduction

Haggai’s prophecy is addressed to the Jews who returned from Babylonian captivity under the decree of Cyrus in about 537 B.C. (see Ezra 1:1–8). Haggai was contemporary with Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zechariah.

The Jews began rebuilding the temple but soon stopped because of opposition and persecution (see Ezra 4; see also enrichment section J and the commentary for Ezra 4:1–10 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, pp. 311–16, 320–21). Haggai’s prophecy, which was delivered about 520 B.C., encouraged the Jews to renew their efforts to rebuild the temple, despite their difficulties, so that they could receive the blessings promised by the Lord (see also Ezra 5:1; 6:14; Bible Dictionary, “Haggai,” p. 698).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Suggestions for Teaching

Haggai 1–2. The covenants and ordinances of the temple are essential to Heavenly Father’s plan for the salvation of His children. (15–25 minutes)

Write on the board All roads lead to . Ask students what words they think should go in the blank. Explain that today they will learn a very important way to complete that sentence.

Read Haggai 1:1–14 with students and discuss the following questions as you read:

  • Why did the Jews stop building the temple in Jerusalem? (see vv. 2–6).

  • According to the Lord, was their poverty and persecution the cause of their failure to rebuild the temple or the result of that failure? (see vv. 7–11).

  • What did the Lord promise them if they were faithful in rebuilding the temple in spite of their poverty? (see v. 13).

  • Why do you suppose the temple was so important?

Compare the Lord’s instructions in the book of Haggai to His instructions about temples to modern Israel in Doctrine and Covenants 95; 109:1–5; and 124:31–55. Share with your students the following statement by Elder Boyd K. Packer to Church leaders:

“You may wonder how to proceed to implement the mission of the Church in the lives of your members. … The statement of the mission presented by President Kimball tells us how to do it.

“We are to ‘proclaim the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, to prepare them to receive the ordinances of baptism and confirmation as members of the Church.’

“We are to ‘perfect the Saints by preparing them to receive the ordinances of the gospel and by instruction and discipline to gain exaltation.’

“We are to ‘redeem the dead by performing vicarious ordinances of the gospel for those who have lived on the earth.’

“We are to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man by concentrating on ordinances and on the covenants associated with them. …

“We would do well to see that in administering the organizations of the Church, all roads lead to the temple. For it is there that we are prepared in all things to qualify us to enter the presence of the Lord” (regional representatives’ seminar, 3 Apr. 1987, 4–5; italics in last paragraph added).

Complete the statement on the board by writing in the words the temple, and ask students to explain how all roads lead to the temple. Show a picture of the temple closest to your home or any Latter-day Saint temple. Ask students what differences there are between temples and the local meetinghouses where they meet for church. Make sure students understand that the temple is the place God has set apart for us to receive ordinances necessary for our salvation.

Consider inviting one or more students who have been to the temple to do baptisms for the dead or to be sealed to their parents to share their experiences and their testimonies of the importance of temples. (Caution them not to discuss the ceremonies or ordinances of the temple.)

Haggai 2:10–19. The Lord requires us to be worthy to participate in temple ordinances. (10–15 minutes)

Ask students the following questions:

  • What is the distance that is run in a marathon?

  • How would you feel about running a marathon tomorrow?

  • What would keep you from running in the race?

  • What would you want to do before you ran such a race?

  • What preparation is necessary to run a marathon?

  • What preparation is necessary to enter the temple?

Have students read Haggai 2:10–19 (see also the commentary for Haggai 2:10–19 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, p. 326). Help them understand that attending the temple does not sanctify someone who is unworthy and that someone who unworthily attends the temple violates the sanctity of the Lord’s house. Have them read Doctrine and Covenants 110:7–8 and discuss why worthiness is essential for meaningful temple work.