, all three of them lived and prophesied at the time of the Jews’ deliverance out of the Babylonian captivity. They exhorted the people very zealously to the reconstruction of the temple and of the city Jerusalem, for, after they had laid the foundations of the temple, almost everyone turned himself to the building of his own house, and discontinued for a while the restoration of the temple. In the meantime several impediments occurred, which delayed the continuation of the building of the temple, as may be seen Ezra 4:1, etc.; 6:1, 3, etc. Yet the prophet’s exhortations prevailed so far at length, that the temple (after the building had stood still for about 42 years, according to the computation of some, after the foundation was laid) was completely finished by the Jews in 4 years’ time. See Ezra 6:14, 15
, etc.; John 2:20. The most important arguments or motives, which the prophet Haggai
had used to rouse up the people to the neglected construction of the temple, are especially these: first, that it is reasonable that Divine matters should be advanced before earthly and temporal things, and if it is neglected, God would likewise not give His blessing to the temporal things; secondly, the prophet declares that the magnificence of the second temple would be far greater than the first, namely for the reason, that CHRIST Himself would bodily appear and preach in it, and consequently would dwell in His church by His grace and Spirit. Here the third urgent stimulation is added, that God giving His blessing to this undertaking, it would be easily accomplished. Two months after Haggai
, the prophet Zechariah began likewise to prophecy, most earnestly exhorting and pressing the backward slothful Jews to the building of the temple.