Haggai 1:15-The Date the Remnant of Judah Resumed Working on Rebuilding the Lord’s Temple Lesson # 22
Haggai 1:15 This took place on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month of King Darius’ second year. (NET)
Haggai 1:15 completes a section of the book of Haggai which began in Haggai 1:12, which records the response of the remnant of Judah to the message the God of Israel communicated to them through the prophet Haggai and which message is recorded in Haggai 1:2-11.
This message centers around the command in Haggai 1:8 which required that this remnant go up at once to the hill country of Judea in order to bring back timber for the purpose of rebuilding the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem.
Haggai 1:8 reveals that this message required that this remnant complete the rebuilding of the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem in order that the nation might once again have a centralized location in which to worship the Lord.
Ultimately, the completion of this project would glorify the Lord since it would demonstrate His sovereign power over the nations of the earth and Judah herself.
This message and the response to the message are bracketed by the introduction in Haggai 1:1 and the concluding date formula in Haggai 1:15 with regards to this remnant’s obedience to this message.
Haggai 1:1 records the exact date in which this message was communicated by Haggai to the remnant of Judah while on the other hand, Haggai 1:15 records the exact date in which this remnant responded in obedience to this message.
Now, as we noted, Haggai 1:15 records the exact date in which the remnant of Judah resumed the work of completing the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem.
It asserts that it began on the twenty-fourth day, during the sixth month, during Darius’ the king’s second year.
As we also noted Haggai 1:1 records the exact day in which the Lord communicated to the remnant of Judah through the prophet Haggai that He wanted this remnant to resume the work of rebuilding His temple which would provide the nation again a centralized location in which they could worship Him and thus bring glory to Him.
Haggai 1:1 asserts that this message was communicated during Darius’ the king’s second year, during the sixth-month, on the first day of this month.
When Haggai 1:1 asserts that this first message to the remnant of Judah was delivered on the first day of the sixth month of King Darius’ second year, this would be Elul 1 according to the Jewish calendar, which in our modern Julian calendar was August 29, 520 B.C.
When Haggai 1:15 asserts that this remnant resumed the work of rebuilding the temple on the twenty-fourth day, during the sixth month, during Darius’ the king’s second year, this would 24 Elul (September 21), 520 B.C.
Therefore, a comparison of Haggai 1:1 with Haggai 1:15 indicates that there was an elapse of 23 days from the issuing of the message to rebuild and the obedient response of this remnant to the message.
This delay can be explained by a couple of factors.
First, the harvest of figs, grapes and pomegranates was in the month of Elul.
Secondly, a period of planning and the gathering of materials to complete the project of rebuilding the temple preceded the actual construction.
As we also noted in our study of Haggai 1:1 that unlike his predecessors, Haggai relates this prophecy to the reign of a non-Israelite or Judahite king.
The Babylonian captivity had brought to an end the Israelite monarchy.
Therefore, it was essential for a post-exilic prophet like Haggai to relate events they describe to a Gentile monarch like Darius I Hystaspes.
Connected to this, we must remember that after the exile, the Jews adopted the Babylonian calendar which began the year in the spring.
Our calendar in the twenty-first century begins January 1, in the middle of the winter.
The sixth month in Haggai 1:1 would therefore, correspond to the month of August in our Gregorian calendar.
Therefore, when Haggai 1:1 asserts that this first message to the remnant of Judah was delivered on the first day of the sixth month of King Darius’ second year, this would be Elul 1 according to the Jewish calendar, which in our modern Julian calendar was August 29, 520 B.C. and Elul 24 was September 21, 520 B.C.
As we also noted, this work was completed, and the temple dedicated during Darius’ sixth year in 516 B.C. (Ezra 6:15-18).
So therefore, four years would elapse from Haggai’s first message to the remnant of Judah and the completion of the work.
Now, in the historical books of the Old Testament, prior to the Babylonian exile, the prophets would usually date the events with reference to a king of Judah or Israel.
However, the Jews had no king in the days of Haggai since they were now under Gentile control and in particular, they were under the Persian Empire. During “the times of the Gentiles” Israel would be under Gentile domination.
“The times of the Gentiles” refers to a period of human history in which God is disciplining the nation of Israel for her corporate rebellion against Him.
It refers to an extended period of time when the Gentiles are the dominant world powers and Israel is subject to those powers.
It extends from the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C. and continues through the Tribulation (Revelation 11:2) and ends with the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
This period of history includes the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and the church age and the Tribulation period.
This phrase does not rule out temporary Jewish control of Jerusalem as has occurred in the past during the Maccabean era (164-63 B.C), the first Jewish revolt against Rome (A.D. 66-70), the second Jewish revolt (A.D. 132-135) and now since 1967 and the Six-Day War.
However, this control is only temporary because Revelation 11:1-2 predicts at least another three-and-one-half years of Gentile domination during the last half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, also known as the Tribulation.
Therefore, any Jewish takeover of the city of David before the Second Advent of Christ must be therefore viewed as a temporary one and does not mean that “the times of the Gentiles” has ended since it can only end with the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, which will forever stop Gentile powers waging war against Israel.
The Times of the Gentiles will come to an end with the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, which also brings to completion the four hundred ninety prophetic years mentioned in Daniel 9:24-27.
The times of the Gentiles is the period of human history in which God is exercising His righteous indignation towards the nation of Israel.
However, at His Second Advent, the Lord Jesus Christ will bring to an end the times of the Gentiles and the seventieth week and thus the exercise of God’s righteous indignation towards the Jewish people.
There will also be a national regeneration of the nation of Israel at the Second Advent.
He will also destroy the Tribulational armies, have Antichrist and the False Prophet thrown into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:11-19), will imprison Satan for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-3) and will establish His millennial reign on planet earth (Rev. 20:4-6).
At that time, the Lord and His armies will orbit the earth before landing on the Mount of Olives, which was the site of His Ascension (Acts. 1:9-11).
There will be a great earthquake when our Lord’s foot touches the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:1-8) and will be a unique day having neither day nor night (Zech. 14:7).
The Lord Jesus Christ describes the Tribulation period in detail and His Second Advent in Matthew 24:29-31 and Luke 21:25-28.
In Luke 21:24, the Lord Jesus Christ makes mention of “the times of the Gentiles” in relation to the Tribulation period in His Olivet Discourse.
History records that this “Darius” mentioned in Haggai 1:1 and 15 was the Persian king Darius I Hystaspes who reigned from 522-486 B.C.
One must not confuse Darius mentioned in Haggai 1:1 with Darius the Mede who appears in the book of Daniel since he was sixty-two when he began to rule according to Daniel 5:31 (6:1).
Furthermore, the Darius of Haggai 1:1 was of a Persian royal line because his father, Hystaspes, was of the Achaemenid dynasty.
On the other hand, the father of Darius the Mede was Ahasuerus who was of Median descent according to Daniel 9:1.
The Darius in Haggai 1:1 took the throne by a coup d’état whereas Cyrus appointed the Darius of Daniel 9:1 to be king over Babylon.
Darius I Hystaspes is mentioned in Ezra 4:5, 24; 5:5-7; 6:1, 12, 15 as well as Haggai 1:1; 2:10; Zechariah 1:1, 7; 7:1 whereas Darius the Mede is only mentioned in the book of Daniel (6:1, 6, 9, 25, 28; 9:1; 11:1).