This article is part of the Christ in All of Scripture series.
God Dwelling with Man
With its focus on rebuilding the house of the Lord, the book of Haggai would be easy to apply moralistically, especially in the midst of a church-building program. The key to applying the book in a gospel-centered way is to see that the temple, like the tabernacle before it, was the visible symbol of God dwelling in the midst of his people, and therefore it foreshadows Christ, the one in whom the Word became flesh and “tabernacled” in our midst (see John 1:14).
The key to applying the book in a gospel-centered way is to see that the temple, like the tabernacle before it, was the visible symbol of God dwelling in the midst of his people.
Christ himself is the new temple in the New Testament (John 2:19). As his body, the church is also the new temple (Eph. 2:16–22). The message of this book for Christians is thus not primarily about restoring a building in Jerusalem, or about constructing a contemporary building: Haggai is all about the ongoing work of building up the people of God, a work that is primarily God’s (Matt. 16:18), but a work in which he, by his Spirit, invites us to participate (1 Cor. 3:10–17).
The ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible features 375,000+ words of gospel-centered study notes, book introductions, and articles that explain passage-by-passage how God’s redemptive purposes culminate in the gospel and apply to the lives of believers today.
The other prominent link to the gospel is through Zerubbabel, the faithful descendant of David who leads the people in restoring the temple. Though Zerubbabel’s grandfather, Jehoiachin (also known as Coniah), was earlier discarded by the Lord like an unwanted signet ring, in Zerubbabel the chosen status of the Davidic line was restored (Hag. 2:19–23). Zerubbabel was one of the ancestors of Christ (Matt. 1:12) and foreshadowed his faithful zeal to build God’s house (John 2:17).
This article is adapted from the ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible. Browse other articles in this series via the links below.
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