AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF HAGGAI
Babylon fell to the Medo-Persian Empire in 539 B.C., and a year later Cyrus issued a decree allowing the Jews to return. By 536 B.C., the first group had arrived and laid the foundation of the Temple. Because of opposition from neighboring peoples, work on the Temple stopped (see Ezr.4v4-5) and was not resumed until God raised up Haggai and Zechariah 16 years later to preach the need to complete the reconstruction project. Over a four-month period in 520 B.C., Haggai delivered four messages concerning this effort. The first and third messages explained that the land's lack of productivity was because the Temple lay in ruins and the land was still spiritually unclean. The other two were words of reassurance that God was supporting the project and would prosper them. The people quickly responded to the challenge, and the rebuilding of the Temple was completed in 515 B.C.
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