and upon the grain, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labor of the hands.”—Hag. 1:1-11, Am. Stan. Ver.
Haggai’s words sank deep into the hearts of the people and their leaders Zerubbabel and Joshua. In less than four weeks the temple builders had reorganized themselves and the work was resumed, right in the teeth of the imperial ban! (Hag. 1:12-15) But as promised, Jehovah was with the builders and blessed their zeal and fearlessness by causing Darius II to renew the decree of Cyrus authorizing the work. The malicious Samaritan enemies were squelched!
Haggai’s second discourse (Hag 2:1-9) came less than a month after resumption of the work. This time it was to beat down any propaganda of any old-timers that the new temple was disappointing when compared with the glory of Solomon’s temple; these zeal-weakeners complained that the new temple being built was as nothing in comparison with the one Nebuchadnezzar had leveled. But in his discourse Haggai assured Zerubbabel and Joshua and the remnant that “the glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former”, for Jehovah will “shake all nations” and the “desire of all nations shall come” to the temple.
Two months and three days later Haggai delivers his third discourse, and in it queries the priests concerning the past uncleanness of the nation, calls upon them to consider the plague of crop failures that ravished the land while the temple work stood still, and promises blessing from Jehovah God in view of the renewed building activity. (Hag. 2:10-19) His fourth and final discourse recorded was delivered on that same day, but was addressed exclusively to Governor Zerubbabel, as follows:
“I will shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms; and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith Jehovah, and will make thee as a signet; for I have chosen thee, saith Jehovah of hosts.”—Hag. 2:20-23, Am. Stan. Ver.
Thus in his closing prophecy Haggai foretold the time when Jehovah of hosts would shake this evil world of Satan, would overthrow its kingdoms and governments, and would set up in Kingdom power the Greater Zerubbabel, Christ Jesus.
“EACH MARRIED COUPLE MIND ITS OWN CONDUCT”
Answering yours of September 22 on the matter of sexual intercourse:
Of course, it is best for everyone not to pry into the private affairs of a married couple and even appear to attempt to dictate to them in regard to this subject. The safest thing we can do is to quote the inspired advice of the apostle Paul thereon at 1 Corinthians 7:1-6 (Moffatt’s translation):
“Now for the questions in your letter. It is indeed ‘an excellent thing for a man to have no intercourse with a woman’; but there is so much immorality, that every man had better have a wife of his own and every woman a husband of her own. The husband must give the wife her conjugal dues, and the wife in the same way must give her husband his; a wife cannot do as she pleases with her body—her husband has power, and in the same way a husband cannot do as he pleases with his body—his wife has power. Do not withhold sexual intercourse from one another, unless you agree to do so for a time, in order to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again. You must not let Satan tempt you through incontinence [through your lack of self-control, An Amer. Trans.]. But what I have just said is by way of concession, not command.”
It is plain here that the apostle is speaking not just of sexual intercourse for the sake of reproducing children, but for the sake of sexual relief. For this reason, he says, it is better for some passionate persons to have a marriage mate of their own to help keep them from indulging in the immorality prevalent in this world. So married couples should not withhold sexual intercourse; otherwise, Satan might tempt one or both of the couple to immorality with persons outside. But, of course, in this matter self-control must be exercised so as not to overindulge to one’s spiritual harm, even to interfering with ‘devoting yourselves to prayer’. In this respect let each couple regulate its own life and not try to dictate to another couple.
Faithfully yours in Kingdom service,
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth; show forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous works among all the peoples. For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols: but Jehovah made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before him: strength and gladness are in his place. Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples, ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength; ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him; worship Jehovah in holy array. . . . say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth.—1 Chron. 16:23-29, 31, A.S.V.