on Haggai 1 :2
The time is not come - They thought that the seventy years spoken of by Jeremiah were not yet completed, and it would be useless to attempt to rebuild until that period had arrived. But Abp. Usher has shown that from the commencement of the last siege of Jerusalem unto this time, precisely sixty-nine years had been completed.
on Haggai 1 :2
Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say - Not Zerubbabel or Joshua, but "this people." He says not, "My people," but reproachfully "this people," as, in acts, disowning Him, and so deserving to be disowned by Him. "The time is not come," literally "It is not time to come, time for the house of the Lord to be built" . They might yet sit still; the time for them "to come" was not yet, for not yet was the "time for the house of the Lord to be built." Why it was not time, they did not say. The government did not help them; the original grant by Cyrus Ezra 3:7 was exhausted; the Samaritans hindered them, because they would not own them, (amid their mishmash of worship, "worshiping," our Lord tells them John 4:22, "they know not what"), as worshipers of the same God. It was a bold excuse, if they said, that the 70 years during which the temple was to lie waste, were not yet ended.
The time had long since come, when, 16 years before, Cyrus had given command that the house of God should be built. The prohibition to build, under Artaxerxes or Pseudo-Smerdis, applied directly to the city and its walls, not to the temple, except so far as the temple itself, from its position, might be capable of being used as a fort, as it was in the last siege of, Jerusalem. Yet in itself a building of the size of the temple, apart from outer buildings, could scarcely so be used. The prohibition did not hinder the building of stately private houses, as appears from Haggai's rebuke. The hindrances also, whatever they were, had not begun with that decree. The death of Pseudo-Smerdis had now, for a year, set them free, if had they had any zeal for the glory and service of God. Otherwise, Haggai would not blamed them. God, knowing that He would bend the heart of Darius, as He had that of Cyrus, requires the house to be built without the king's decree. It was built in faith, that God would bring through what He had enjoined, although outward things were as adverse now as before. And what He commanded He prospered Ezra 5-6.
There was indeed a second fulfillment of 70 years, from the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar 586 b.c., to its consecration in the 6th year of Darius 516 b.c. But this was through the willfulness of man, prolonging the desolation decreed by God, and Jeremiah's prophecy relates to the people not to the temple.
"The prophet addresses his discourse to the chiefs (in Church and state) and yet accuses directly, not their listlessness but that of the people, in order both to honor them before the people and to teach that their sins are to be blamed privately not publicly, lest their authority should be injured, and the people incited to rebel against them; and also to shew that this fault was directly that of the people, whom he reproves before their princes, that, being openly convicted before them, it might be ashamed, repent, and obey God; but that indirectly this fault touched the chiefs themselves, whose office it was to urge the people to this work of God" . "For seldom is the prince free from the guilt of his subjects, as either assenting to, or winking at them, or not coercing them, though able."
Since also Christians are the temple of God, all this prophecy of Haggai is applicable to them . "When thou seest one who has lapsed thinking and preparing to build through chastity the temple which he had before destroyed through passion, and yet delaying day by day, say to him, 'Truly thou also art of the people of the captivity, and sayest, The time is not yet come for building the house of the Lord.' Whoso has once settled to restore the temple of God, to him every time is suited for building, and the prince, Satan, cannot hinder, nor, the enemies around. As soon as being thyself converted, thou callest upon the name of the Lord, He will say, "Behold Me" . "To him who willeth to do right, the time is always present; the good and right-minded have power to fulfill what is to the glory of God, in every time and place."
on Haggai 1 :2