Meaning My feast, or the feast of Jah; Jah being a shortened form of Jehovah. The name indicates that Haggai the prophet, who had been born in captivity in Babylon, expected earnestly to return from the captivity that the feasts of Jehovah might be restored.
The central thought of Haggai’s prophecy is that the building of the house of Jehovah is related to the welfare of God’s people today and to the coming of the millennial kingdom with its Messiah in the age of restoration (Matt. 19:28; Acts 3:20-21). In the Old Testament the house of God, or the temple, was first a type of Christ as the house of God individually (John 2:19-21) and then a type of the church, the Body, the enlarged Christ, as God’s house corporately (1 Tim. 3:15). Thus, Haggai’s prophecy refers to us, the New Testament believers, since we are the reality of the type.
During the years when the rebuilding of the temple was interrupted through the opposition of the adversaries (Ezra 4), the children of Israel began to build houses for themselves and gradually forgot the building of the temple (vv. 2-4). Haggai’s speaking to Zerubbabel the governor, representing the kingship, and Joshua the high priest, representing the priesthood, was to strengthen and encourage them and the people for the rebuilding of the temple as God’s house (Ezra 5:1 and note Ezra 5:11).
The self-serving and God-neglecting returned captives were taking care of their houses but not Jehovah’s house; hence, He came in to ask them concerning His house.
This indicates that if we do not have the heart to take care of God’s house for His satisfaction, no matter how much we eat or drink or how well we dress, there will be no satisfaction. If we neglect the church, we will have no real enjoyment or satisfaction.
Today our gospel preaching is our gathering of material for the building of God’s house.
For the recovery of the building of God’s house, God’s elect were stirred up by the Lord in their spirit in the order of God’s authority, beginning with Zerubbabel the governor (cf. Ezra 1:5). In the Minor Prophets both the divine Spirit and the stirred-up human spirit of God’s elect are mentioned. In the New Testament the divine Spirit has been consummated and poured out (Acts 2:17-21; Joel 2:28-32), and our human spirit responds to such a Spirit by being stirred up (cf. Acts 17:16; Rom. 8:16; 2 Cor. 2:13).
In our response to the Lord’s charge, we all should be occupied by the Lord Jesus in the work of preaching the gospel, feeding the new believers, and taking care of others for the building up of the Lord’s house, the church as the Body of Christ (John 21:15-17).