Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Haggai 2:5

‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!'
New American Standard

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - God;   Holy Spirit;   Righteous;   Zeal, Religious;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Gift of the Holy Spirit, the;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Zerubbabel or Zorobabel;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Joshua the son of jehozadak;   Zechariah, book of;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Church, the;   Holy Spirit;   Prophet, Christ as;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Haggai;   Jeshua;   Zerubbabel;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Exodus;   Haggai;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Priests and Levites;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Zerubbabel ;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Holy Ghost;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Haggai;   Holy Spirit;   Joshua (3);   Trinity;  
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for October 31;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The words which I covenanted - The words stand more forcibly, because abruptly.

It is an exclamation which cannot be forced into any grammatical relation with the preceding. The more exact idiom would have been “Remember,” “take to heart.” But the prophet points to it the more energetically, because he casts it, as it were, into the midst, not bound up with any one verb. This would be the rather done in speaking to the people, as David to his followers (1 Samuel 30:23, which Ewald compares, Lehrb. n. 329. a. p. 811, ed. 8. and in his Die Proph. iii. 183. Only he, not very intelligibly, makes it a sort of oath, By the word, By that which the Lord hath given us. But he suggests the like broken sentence Zech. vii. 7), “That which the Lord hath given us and hath preserved us and given the company against us into our hands!” i. e., “Would you deal thus with it?” The abrupt form rejects it as shocking. So here, “The word which I covenanted with you,” i. e. this, “I will be with you,” was the central all-containing promise, to which God pledged Himself when He brought them out of Egypt. He speaks to them as being one with those who came up out of Egypt, as if they were the very persons. The Church, ever varying in the individuals of whom it is composed, is, throughout all ages, in God‘s sight, one; His promises to the fathers are made to the children in them. So the Psalmist says, “There” (at the dividing of the Red Sea and the Jordan) “do we rejoice in Him,” as if present there; and our Lord promises to the Apostles, Matthew 28:20. “I am with you always even to the end of the world,” by an ever-present presence with them and His Church founded by them in Him.

My Spirit abideth among you, - as the Psalmist says Psalm 102:27, “they (the heavens) perish and Thou abidest” Psalm 33:11, “The counsel of the Lord standeth forever” Psalm 111:3, “His righteousness endureth forever.” The Spirit of God is God the Holy Spirit, with His manifold gifts. Where He is, is all good. As the soul is in the body, so God the Holy Spirit is in the Church, Himself its life, and bestowing on all and each every good gift, as each and all have need. As Paul says of the Church of Christ 1 Corinthians 12:4, 1 Corinthians 12:6, 1 Corinthians 12:11, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God, who worketh all in all. All these worketh one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.” But above and beyond all gifts He is present as the Spirit of holiness and love, making the Church and those in whom He individually dwells, acceptable to God. Special applications, such as “the Spirit of wisdom and might;” a spirit such as He gave to Moses to judge His people; the spirit of prophecy; or the spirit given to Bezaleel and Aholiab for the work of the sanctuary - these recognize in detail the one great truth, that all good, all wisdom, from least to greatest, comes from God the Holy Spirit; though one by one they would exclude more truth than they each contain.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Haggai 2:5

My Spirit remaineth among you; fear ye not.

The patience of the Spirit

Some, more especially the older men of the nation, remembering the magnificence of the temple of Solomon, and contrasting with it the meanness of the present temple, were continually discouraging the builders; so the Lord sent His prophets again the second time to say,--“My Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.” So we are often tempted to give up in despair, because our efforts seem so puny and so weak; hut God’s message comes to us to-day with this encouragement, “My Spirit remaineth among you.”

1. There are those who are continually putting off. They are busily engaged in their own pursuits, but are putting off the demands and claims of Almighty God. The text ought to speak to such some heart-searching and heart-breaking appeals. Is not the patience of the Spirit wonderful? To think that the Holy Spirit of God should still keep on waiting while we were saving to God,” When I have a convenient season I will call for Thee.

2. There are men who profess to be Christian men. But they seem satisfied with being sure that they have escaped the damnation of hell. They are like the returned exiles who were satisfied with having an altar, and were not anxious about getting a temple. Yet God’s Spirit is still waiting. Do not trust in any fancied security.

3. There are those who feel that unless they are found working for Christ they cannot reasonably hope that they have been saved by Christ. If God’s Spirit is with us He reveals to us that we are in this world to do some good to our fellow-men. If we are despondent as we think how little we have done, the assurance of the text is encouraging, “My Spirit remaineth with Trusting in the patient, abiding, indwelling Spirit, may we be more and more respired, m spite of every temptation to despondency, to rise and build the temple of our God. (E. A. Stuart, M. A.)

The presence of God’s Spirit in the Church

The conduct of God towards His Church in ancient time is an ennobling and a comforting study: ennobling because it brings His character before our view in a light in which we cannot see it in the fields of nature and in the works of creation; comforting because it brings to our view God in all those glorious relations which nature has no know ledge of. The ancient Jewish Church was set apart by God for the purpose of illustrating those deeper and, if I might dare so to speak, final aspects of the Divine nature. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power in the Church is not less vital to her interests than the doctrine of salvation by the finished work of Christ.

I. The promise itself. “So My Spirit remaineth among you.”

1. The indispensability of the blessing here spoken of. “The Spirit of God.” The doctrine of spiritual influence was not so prominently taught, nor was it so clearly understood, under the old economy as we know it, and as it is taught to us. There was so much that was external, formal, and typical that the great truth of the absolute necessity of spiritual influence was apt to be laid aside and forgotten. That doctrine was not, however, altogether kept out of sight. It is not a doctrine exclusively confined to the Christian economy, as some have supposed. We have a more full and copious display of the Spirit’s power in the Church of Christ now than there was in those olden times. There is no single believer who is not himself the possessor of the Holy Spirit’s influence. We have the Holy Spirit not only as a Teacher, but as a Comforter. We all know the difference between the reading of the Word of God without Divine illumination, and with it. The Spirit takes of the things of Christ, and brings them home to us. He deadens us to the things of the world, and quickens us to all Divine realities. Without the Spirit of God within us there can be no real holiness. There may he external consistency. The Spirit is the only agent that can dive deeply down into the secret recesses of the human heart, that can command the energies and feelings of the soul one by one, and bring them all into a loving subjection to the obedience of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the Revealer also to us of the glories of our future inheritance. The things which the eye hath not seen, and the ear hath not heard, and the heart of man hath not conceived of, are made known to us by the Spirit of God.

2. The Divine mercy as displayed in the giving of the promise. On what ground could that Spirit have been given to the children of Israel except on this?

3. The adaptation of the blessing to all times and all circumstances. The gift which the text promises I should desire most for the welfare of this, or any other church. As Jehovah Himself lives ever, so His Spirit shall follow us ever through all the changing scenes of time.

4. The certainty of the blessing. We are told that this promise of the Spirit was covenanted. The covenant assures us a new heart and a right spirit.

II. The great truth which this promise forces upon our attention. “Fear not.” “There is nothing for you to fear now I have given you this promise,” says Jehovah.

1. Fear no local change.

2. Fear not personal apostasies in the history of the Church.

3. Fear not, for the existence of God’s Church among you is of some importance to the surrounding locality. (W. Barker.)

The presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church an antidote to her fears

The Lord showed great favour to His Church during the Old Testament Dispensation, in the frequency with which He revealed to her His mind and will, and in His special appearances for her preservation and deliverance. At the return of the Jews to their own land at the termination of the seventy years’ captivity the Lord was very gracious to His Church, against which He had had indignation so long. At that time the prophetical, priestly, and kingly offices were all filled by eminent men. The prophets were Haggai and Zechariah, the son of Barachiah. The governor was Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and the high priest was Joshua, the son of Josedech. By the instrumentality of the two prophets who have been mentioned the Jews were encouraged to begin to rebuild the house of God, and to persevere in the work till it was accomplished. Although the people began the work with ardour, so soon as they had laid the foundation they began to be discouraged. There were various reasons for this, such as the vexatious opposition which their enemies carried on against them, and the mean appearance of their work in comparison with the grandeur of the former temple built by Solomon. In order to encourage them to persevere the Lord sent the prophet with a new message, which we have in this chapter from verse 2 to 9. The words which precede the text contain a supplement by the translators which give a good sense. But they may be read more forcibly in connection with the preceding verses without the supplement, thus, “For I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts, I, the Word that covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.” These words may be regarded as the language of God in the Person of the Son or of Christ. In them Christ assures His ancient people that He was now graciously present with them by His Spirit, and exhorts them not to be afraid. Most important is the presence of Christ by His Spirit in the Church. It is essential to the Church’s vitality, increase, and general spiritual prosperity.

I. We are to mention some evidences of the spirit’s remaining among a people, or in the Church of Christ. One evidence of this is--

1. Purity of doctrine and of worship enjoyed in the Church. God has been pleased to grant unto His Church a supernatural revelation of His will which we possess in the completed Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. It is the duty of the Church thus favoured so to receive that Word as to embrace the whole system of revealed truth. The Holy Spirit delights to dwell only where truth and purity reign. Purity of doctrine and worship is also spoken of by Christ as the effect of His Spirit’s presence in the Church, when He says of Him, “He shall glorify Me for He shall take of Mine and shall show it unto you,” and “He shall testify of Me, and shall lead you into all truth.” Men may be as zealous as they choose, and as fervid and fervent about their own devices and inventions in God’s worship as they will; but, departing from the rule of the Divine Word, they are under the guidance only of their own spirits. Another evidence is--

2. Unity in the maintenance of a scriptural profession and purity of Church fellowship. As the Church of Christ is a society separated from the rest of the world for the service and glory of God, it has an essential unity belonging to it; and this unity ought to be manifested by it, both in its profession of faith and in its holy practice, for it is the will of its Divine Head who hath founded and stablished it, that is the rule in respect of both. The presence of the Spirit in the Church causes the members of it to speak the same things and to walk by the same rule. We are aware that there are some who imagine that such unity in the truth, and purity of Church fellowship, is too chimerical an idea to be realised “It is not possible” say they, “unless we are to conceive men to have only one mind, and to be divested of volition and of independence.” But we reply that all the sacred writers disprove this, for they has volition and independence, and yet spoke the same thing. The state of the early Christian Church disproves it, when “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.”

3. Power accompanying God’s Word and ordinances.

4. The exercise of grace, and the cultivation of a holy walk and conversation evidences the remaining of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit resides in every believer as the spirit of life, of light, of holiness, and of comfort. He not only carries on all those operations in the soul which recover it from ignorance, and enmity, and unhappiness, and bring it to the knowledge, love, and enjoyment of God, but He carries on the good work which He has begun, until, it is perfected in complete conformity to the Divine image.

5. The abounding in prayer.

II. To show what fears the spirit’s remaining among a people or in the Church is calculated to remove. Generally, the Spirit’s remaining in the Church may remove all fears about the maintenance and success of the Lord’s work and cause. But, more particularly, the Spirit’s presence in the Church is fitted to remove--

1. The fear occasioned by open and secret enemies to the work and cause of God. The Jews were greatly discouraged in building the second temple by the number and power of their enemies, and by their open hostility, secret plots, and contrivances to defeat them in the work in which they were engaged. So great, indeed, was their power, that they prevailed for a season to induce Artaxerxes, King of Persia, to put a stop to the work altogether. And so, when the Lord’s people have His Spirit remaining among them, they have no reason to fear that the work and cause of God shall be overthrown, either by temporal or by spiritual enemies. Whatever may be their number, influence, or power, however great their malice and crafty their devices, the Spirit of God is able to defeat them, for He is almighty, omniscient, and omnipotent, and He is possessed of every infinite perfection.

2. The fears occasioned by the falling away of professed friends. When the Jews were engaged in building the temple and city they were tried by the desertion of some who once professed themselves to be friendly, and this was followed, as often happens in such cases, by open opposition. Among those who acted so basely the most conspicuous were Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite. In a similar way the people of God have been tried in all ages.

3. The fears occasioned by the removal of true friends of the work and cause of God. There are various ways in which the true and tried friends of the cause and work of God may be removed. In His providence they may be placed at a great distance from their brethren, so that they cannot be with them, as they were wont, nor so serviceable to them as they used to be. Sometimes affliction detains them for a long time from countenancing and encouraging by their presence those who delight in their company, and hold them in high esteem for their steadfast attachment to the truth and fidelity to the cause of Christ. The removal is sometimes, however, more permanent, and the separation more painful, for death takes them away from the world and from the Church below. But they are gone! And surely not without cause do we weep. We have not, we fear, improved our privileges aright, nor rendered unto the Lord according to the benefits we have received; and in judgment the Lord has recalled His gifts. Who, we well may ask, fill their places? But while we wish to lay to heart the Lord’s dealings, and justly fear that His servants are taken away from the evil to come, we ought not to give way to desponding fears as to the Lord’s cause and work. If the Lord’s Spirit remain among us we have no cause to be afraid. He is able to give a double portion of His Spirit to those who remain, and to raise up Elishas upon whom the mantle of Elijah has fallen. We shall only add--

4. The fear of sufferings and of trials which the people of God may meet with in their adherence to the cause and work of the Lord. In prosecuting the work and cause of God His people are often called by Him in His providence to make many sacrifices of their own ease and comfort, and of their worldly substance; they have also to bear much reproach and scorn for the truth’s sake, not only from the world, but from those who bear the Christian name. These things are apt to discourage and fill them with fear. But the promise and evidence of the Spirit’s remaining among them is an antidote to this” fear. He will not allow, any trial to befall them without making His grace sufficient for them. His promise is, As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”

In conclusion--

1. This subject teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the very life of the Church and people of God.

2. This subject teaches us, further, that the Spirit’s presence among His people is sufficient to remove their fears about the maintenance of the Lord’s cause and the continuance of His work. So long as the Spirit remains among His people they may rest assured that He will continue His work and maintain His cause in spite of all opposition and hindrances.

3. Again, this subject teaches us that there are many sad evidences of a great departure of the Spirit and withdrawment of His gracious influences at the present day. The withdrawment of the influences of the Spirit, and His departure through being grieved, is an evil that the Church and people of God ought greatly to fear. (J. Ritchie)

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Haggai 2:5". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"According to the word which I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, and my Spirit abode among you: fear ye not."

The ancient covenant that God made with Abraham, promising to bless "all the people of the earth" through his "seed" (singular, which is Christ), will yet be honored by the Father. True, there had been a gross misunderstanding on secular Israel's part about what God's blessing meant, most of them interpreting it to mean that God would help them subdue all earthly enemies and incorporate the defeated nations into Israel's "godless state" or "kingdom," which was a concept foreign to God altogether. That kind of a kingdom was their idea, not God's; and, as a consequence, they arrogantly forsook their true religion, rebelled against God, forsook his holy law, and became as reprobate as the heathen; whereupon God destroyed their beloved worldly kingdoms which the people had come to idolize. Their prophets warned them, but to no avail. Amos declared:

"Behold, the eyes of the Lord Jehovah are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; save that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith Jehovah (Amos 9:8). Of course, that is exactly what happened!"

In this verse is the promise that God meant all he ever said. He will yet bless the true Israel (the spiritual seed of Abraham), making them a blessing to all the earth. The fulfillment of that promise would yet come, but not in the way fleshly Israel imagined. The very next verse would point to the true method of its accomplishment.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

According to the Word that I covenanted with you, when ye came out of Egypt,.... Or rather, "with the Word, in or with whom I covenanted"F7את הדבר אשר כרתי "cum verbo quo pepigeram", Junius & Tremellius; "cum verbo illo quo pepigi", Varenius; approved of by Reinbeck, Append. Doctrin. de Accent. p. 76, 77. , &c. as some render it; that is, Christ, the essential Word, who was promised to the people of Israel at that time, Deuteronomy 18:15 and in whom all the promises are, and the covenant of grace itself; and which covenant was indeed made with him from eternity, but was made manifest, or more clearly manifest, to the Jewish ancestors, when they came out of Egypt: now it is here promised, for the encouragement of the Jews to go in the work of the Lord in building the temple, that this divine Word should be with them also, to counsel, assist, strengthen, and protect them; even he who went before their fathers in the wilderness in a pillar of cloud by day, and of fire by night; the Angel of God's presence, that redeemed, saved, and carried them all the days of old; the Word that was in the beginning with God, and was God; and by whom all things were created at first; and who would, as since he has, become flesh, and dwell among them, and appear in this very temple they were now building; and who will be with all his churches, ministers, and people, unto the end of the world:

so my Spirit remaineth among you: or rather, "and", or "also, my Spirit standeth", continueth "in the midst of you"F8ורוחי עמדת בתוככם "et Spiritus meus stat in medio vestri", Pagninus, Cocceius; "stana", Montanus; "Spiritus quoque meus stabit in medio vestrum", Vatablus. ; not only Jehovah the Father, and his divine Logos or Word, were with them; but his Spirit also, his Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Trinity, of which these words are a proof; the same Spirit which was in Moses and others in his time, for the building of the tabernacle, is now promised unto, and should continue with, the builders of this temple; as a Spirit of wisdom and counsel to direct them, and as a Spirit of might and power to strengthen and assist them: and so he is, and will be, in the churches of Christ, and in the midst of his people, to assist the ministers of the word in preaching, the people in hearing, praying, and praising; to carry on his own work in them; to be the Comforter of them, and the seal, earnest, and pledge of their future glory; nor does he, nor ever will he, depart from them; see Isaiah 59:21,

fear ye not: succeeding in the work, and finishing it; nor be dismayed at what the ancient people had said; nor be afraid of enemies, who did all they could to hinder and discourage them from going on with their work; and indeed there is no reason to fear, let the service be what it will the Lord employs his people in; if he, Father, Son, and Spirit, are with them; see Isaiah 41:10.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

According to the word that — literally, “(I am with you) the word (or thing) which I covenanted”; that is, I am with you as I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt (Exodus 19:5, Exodus 19:6; Exodus 34:10, Exodus 34:11). The covenant promise of God to the elect people at Sinai is an additional motive for their persevering. The Hebrew for to “covenant” is literally “to cut,” alluding to the sacrificial victims cut in ratification of a covenant.

so — or, “and.”

my Spirit remaineth among you — to strengthen you for the work (Haggai 1:14; Zechariah 4:6). The inspiration of Haggai and Zechariah at this time was a specimen of the presence of God‘s Spirit remaining still with His people, as He had been with Moses and Israel of old (Ezra 5:1; Isaiah 63:11).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.

My spirit — Of strength and courage, of wisdom and understanding.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


(A Whit-Sunday Sermon)

‘My Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.’

Haggai 2:5

The Spirit of God is God the Holy Ghost, with His manifold gifts; where He is, is all good, there is life, and light, and fire of Love. He is the Lord, the Giver of Life; as the soul is in the body so God the Holy Ghost is in the Church, Himself its life, and bestowing on all and each every good gift as each and all have need.

I. For us who are spared to give thanks again another year to Almighty God for the fullness of His great Pentecostal gift, it might be enough that we repeat our great hymn of faith, and testify our unchanged belief steadfastly in that faith once delivered to the saints; for it is a chief use of the recurring festivals of the Church, that year by year, in spite of the discordant utterances which we may have heard, we testify that our faith is still unchanged, so we give thanks to God and say ‘the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one: the Father is God, the Son God, and the Holy Ghost God, yet not three Gods but one God.’ God is one and yet three, three Persons and one God, God the Holy Ghost is one, yet are three diversities of gifts. We cannot speak of them all; but of one point in reference to all we should make sure, that the Holy Spirit is the author of them all; so varied, so wonderful, so beautiful are the manifold Divine intricacies in which we live, that it is in some sense not wonderful if man becomes absorbed and confounded in his researches and discoveries in the things which he sees. We are reminded of the Author and Giver of life. He is the finger of God, giving as it were the last touch to all the perfection and beauty which we see around us. Of all His varied operations let us confess again that He is the Perfecter and continued support. And yet while we cannot speak of all, or of many of the operations of the Holy Spirit, one, and that a most principal one, the Church brings again prominently before us to-day; to-day is Whitsuntide and also the beginning of Ember week, the week that is set apart by the Church, with special prayer and fasting, in preparation for the ordination next Sunday. Next Sunday our Archbishops and Bishops will again begin the hymn, ‘Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,’ singing it as a solemn prayer while the candidates are kneeling waiting for admittance into the holy office of priesthood. It would be a blasphemous mockery and impudent imposition to use the words ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost, for the office and work of a priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands,’ unless the ministry is intended to be a peculiar channel of Divine grace, and to be regarded as the appointed instrument for singular operations of God the Holy Ghost; unless, in fact, it claims Divine authority and power. On Whitsunday, the Sunday which begins the Ember week, the week of special preparation for the Christian ministry, we may well again repeat our belief in the old teaching of the Christian Church: that the ministry which we have is according to the will of Christ our Lord, and actuated by the Divine Presence of God the Holy Ghost. ‘My Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.’

II. An apostolic ministry does not mean merely a ministry springing out of the earth at the date when the Apostles lived, but a ministry which through the Apostles has the Divine sanction of the will of our Lord Himself. It is this ultimate resolution of the ministry into the Divine will which is at once the cause of the contention, and which is alone worth contending for. Our Blessed Lord forewarned us that it would be so when He asked that vital question regarding the ministry of the Baptist, ‘The baptism of John, was it from heaven or of men? answer Me.’ The Pharisees felt the danger of saying definitely it was from men, for the people still believed in the supernatural and in God; all men counted John as a prophet, but far more did they see the importance of committing themselves to a statement that the ministry was Divine, ‘If we shall say from Heaven, he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?’ To believe in the minister would involve them in a belief in Christ, belief in Christ must imply confession of sinfulness and absolute self-surrender. They felt the pressure of the Divine Presence in the question of the origin of the ministry: they adopted a consistent Agnostic position, and withheld their confession both of the ministry and of Christ. The same warning is implied in other words of our Lord regarding His own ministry. ‘I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not; if another should come in his own name, him ye will receive.’ To come in one’s own name is to come to the world as one of its own, and the world will receive its own. The greater the ability the more flattered does the world seem by the greatness of one of its own; it is but a part of itself after all that it is called upon to obey. But if a man come in the name of another, and that other not of this world but from above, then the whole relation becomes changed, and the sinful creature feels instinctively a shrinking at the Divine authority and Presence, which through the messenger is drawing men. ‘I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not.’ Such a ministry could not, of course, be taken up and laid aside like a mere civil appointment. This Hooker has admirably expressed: ‘They which have once received this power may not think to put it off and on like a cloak as the weather suiteth: to take it, reject and resume it, as oft as themselves list, of which profane and impious contempt these later times have yielded, as of all other kinds of iniquity and apostasy, strange examples; but let them know who put their hands unto this plough, that once consecrated unto God they are made His peculiar heritage for ever. Suspensions may stop, and deprivations utterly put off the use or exercise of power before given; but voluntarily it is not in the power of man to separate and pull asunder what God by His authority coupleth.’ And this was evidently the teaching of the Church at the close of the second century, for Tertullian rallies the heretics of his day with their ‘careless, capricious, and inconsistent ordinations,’ wherefore he says,’ One man is Bishop to-day, another to-morrow; to-day deacon who to-morrow will be reader; to-day Presbyter who to-morrow will be layman, for even to laymen,’ he adds, ‘they commit the priestly offices.’ Such a system he well calls ‘futilis, humana, terrena.’ It tells nothing against this Divine origin and power of the ministry that it borrows names and outward form from organisations existing in the world in which it works; this is nothing more than the taking of the dust of the ground to make the first Adam, or taking of the flesh of the Blessed Virgin to accomplish the Incarnation of the Son of God. This was done, ‘not by the conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking the Manhood into God.’ He was very God, and He became very Man, and the Spirit of God dwelt in Him without measure. We see Him in the tabernacle of His human flesh, full of grace and truth. The common thornbush of the desert, burning, yet unconsumed.

III. We may, then, on this festival of the Holy Spirit, acknowledge our thankfulness and encourage ourselves by the words of the Lord, ‘My Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.’ But the whole context of the passage teaches us that the possession of a ministry with Divine authority, and empowered with the Divine energy of the Holy Ghost, should be no mere substitute for human energy, or for the exercise and development to the uttermost of the human faculties. The message of the prophet Haggai conveyed indeed the essential assurance of the Divine Presence, ‘My spirit is amongst you,’ but it was also an earnest exhortation to work: ‘Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel! saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest, and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work.’ It is an exhortation, not only to work, but to combined, united work. We have, in this Ember week, been vindicating the special claim of the Christian ministry to a peculiar share in the supernatural gifts of Pentecost; but this implies no monopoly. When our Saviour ‘ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and received gifts for men.’ Not only Joshua the high priest, but also Zerubbabel the governor, and all the people are exhorted to take their part in the restoration of Jerusalem and work. It should be the same with us now. The clergy are not the Church, but the laity and clergy, the whole body of the faithful together.

Bishop Edward King.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Haggai 2:5 [According to] the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.

Ver. 5. According to the word] Or, as Tremellius hath it better, Cum VERBO quo pepigeram vobiscum, With the WORD, in and for whom I covenanted with you, &c. So my Spirit remaineth among you. And so it is a gracious promise that the whole Trinity will be with them. The particle eth seemeth put for gnayim; and the article he is emphatic, showing that by Word is meant the second person, often called the Word both in the Old Testament, 2 Samuel 7:21 cf. 1 Chronicles 17:19, and in the New, Luke 1:1-80 : 2 John 1:1, 1 John 5:7. The Chaldee seemeth to favour this interpretation, for he rendereth it, My word shall be your help. Jerome, Albertus, Nyssen, and Haymo dissent not. Haggai, and other prophets and patriarchs of old, did well understand the mystery of the sacred Trinity. {See Trapp on "Genesis 1:1"} Elihu speaks of the Almighty his makers, Job 35:10. Solomon the same, Ecclesiastes 12:1, Song of Solomon 1:11, which Jarchi interpreteth of the Trinity. Isaiah hath his Trisagion, or, "Holy, holy, holy," Isaiah 6:3 In Isaiah 42:5 "Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and they that stretched them out." So Deuteronomy 6:4, when Moses beginneth to rehearse the law, and to explain it, the first thing he teacheth them is the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity. "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one." Three words answering the three persons; and the middle word, "our God," deciphering fitly the second, who assumed our nature, as is well observed by Galatinus. Others observe that the last letters in the original, both in the word "hear" and in the word "one," are bigger than ordinary; as calling for utmost heed and attention. The old Rabbis were no strangers to this tremendous mystery (as appeareth by R. Solomen’s note on Song of Solomon 1:11 "We will make," &c.), though their posterity desperately deny it. The Greek Church was not as sound in this fundamental point; therefore their chief city, Constantinople, was taken from them by the Turks (as Estius observeth) on Whitsunday, or (as others) on Trinity Sunday; which day (saith our chronicler) the Black Prince was used every year to celebrate with the greatest honour that might be, in due veneration of so divine a mystery. Now, Christ is here and elsewhere called The Word, either because he is so often promised in the word, or else because by him God’s will was manifested and revealed to men, and that either mediately, in the prophets, whence Peter, martyr, thinketh that phrase came, Then came the word of the Lord, that is, Christ; or, immediately, himself, Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 2:3.

That I covenanted with you] Or, in whom I covenanted, and whence Christ is called the angel of the covenant, Malachi 3:1. Christ, then, was a Saviour to those of the Old Testament also, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," Revelation 13:8. Christ undertook to pay his people’s debt in the fulness of time; and hereby they were saved. A man may let a prisoner loose now upon a promise to pay the debt a year after. See Hebrews 9:15, and take notice of the unity of the faith in both Testaments; they of old saw Christ afar off in the promises, they greeted him ( ασπασαμενοι), and were regreeted by him, Hebrews 11:13

When ye came out of Egypt] Ye, that is, your ancestors. Things done by the parents may be said to be done by the children; because of the near conjunction that is between them. Hence Levi is said to pay tithes in Abraham, Hebrews 7:9, and Adam’s sin is imputed to us all.

So my spirit remaineth among you] Not the substance, but the gifts of the Spirit; not the tree, but the fruits. Those whom God receiveth into the covenant of grace he endues them with the spirit of grace. See Romans 8:9; Romans 8:11. How else should they be able to perform their part of the covenant, since we cannot so much as suspirare unless he do first inspirare, breathe out a sigh for sin till he breathe it in to us by his Spirit? Hereby, then, we may know whether or not we are in covenant with God (the devil will be sure to sweep all that are not), sc. if his Spirit remain in us, Jeremiah 31:33, working illumination, 1 Corinthians 2:14-15, mortification, Romans 8:13, motion, Romans 8:14, gifts, 1 Corinthians 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:7-8, &c., fruits, Galatians 5:22-23, strength, Isaiah 11:2, courage, as here.

Fear ye not] Cur timer hominem homo, in sinu Dei positus (Aug.)? Why should such fear man who have God in Christ by his Spirit standing with them and for them? The righteous may be bold as a lion; he hath the peace of God within him and the power of God without him, and so goes ever under a double guard; what need he fear? It is said of Achilles that he was Styge armatus, and therefore could not be wounded. But he that is in covenant with God is Deo, Christo, Spiritu Saneto armatus, and may therefore be fearless of any creature.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Haggai 2:5. According to the word that I covenanted Houbigant begins this verse with the last clause of the fourth, For I, saith the Lord of Hosts, will bring to you that which I covenanted with you, when ye came out of Egypt; and my Spirit shall remain with you: fear ye not. What was that covenant? says Bishop Warburton;—that Israel should be his people, and he be their God and king. Therefore, it cannot mean barely that he would be their God, and they should be his people; for this was but part of the covenant; nor can it mean that they should be conducted by an extraordinary providence as at their coming out of Egypt, and during the first periods of the theocracy; for this was but the effect of the covenant; and besides, we know that that dispensation and providence soon ceased after the re-establishment. The meaning therefore must be, that he would still continue their king as well as God; yet at the same time, when this theocracy was restored, it was both fit, on account of its dignity, and necessary for the people's assurance, that it should be attended with some unusual display of the divine favour: accordingly, prophets were raised up, and an extraordinary providence for some time administered, as appears from many places in these prophets. See Haggai, Haggai 1:6; Haggai 1:11; Haggai 2:16; Haggai 2:19. Zechariah 8:12. Malachi 3:10-11 and Div. Leg. book 5: sect. 3.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The word; either the word of promise to give them his presence, and to carry them through all opposition, or, the Word, the Son of God, promised to them and us; so it refers to Christ, in whom all the promises are yea and amen.

That I covenanted with you; in solemnest manner reduced to the form and model of a covenant, that it might be sure and firm to you, as to your fathers, in whose time I made this covenant, and with you in them.

When ye came out of Egypt; when I brought you out of Egypt, the house of bondage.

My spirit, of strength and courage, of wisdom and understanding, of zeal and fervency, to carry you through this work, remaineth among you; still doth dwell in you, shall be continued to you, and give direction and success.

Fear ye not; let no discouraging surmises settle in your mind or weaken your hands. There were as many improbabilities lay in bar to your getting out of Egypt, yet my word, covenant, and Spirit overcame all; fear not therefore, I am the same, and with you, as with your father’s.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The Lord reiterated the promise He had made to the Israelites when they left Egypt in the Exodus. His Spirit would stay in their midst, so they did not need to fear (cf. Exodus 19:4-6; Exodus 33:14). The returnees could identify with their forefathers who departed from Egypt because they had recently departed from another captivity in Babylon. As the Lord had been with them in the cloudy pillar, so He was with them now. As David had encouraged Solomon to build the first temple with the promise that God would be with him ( 1 Chronicles 28:20), so Haggai encouraged Zerubbabel and Joshua to build the second temple with the same promise.

"There must have been those who were theologically naive and doubted that God could be with them if the temple and the ark in particular were not intact.

"Undoubtedly fear gripped many of the returnees-fear that God had written an eternal "Ichabod" over Jerusalem, fear that no amount of praying or piety would induce him to bless them again, fear that the whole endeavor was in vain, fear that the political enemies would in fact win, fear that all was lost." [Note: Alden, p585.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

I covenanted with you: or, supply the Ellipsis thus: "[I remember", or "Remember ye] the word which I", &c. Reference to Pentateuch (Exodus 29:45, Exodus 29:46).

when ye came, &c. Reference to Pentateuch (Exodus 12:51). App-92.

so My Spirit, &c.: i.e. speaking by the prophets. Compare Nehemiah 9:20. Isaiah 63:10-14.

Spirit. Hebrew. ruach. App-9.

remaineth: or, abideth.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.

According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt - literally, (I am with you), 'the word (or thing) which I covenanted' - i:e., I am with you as I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt (Exodus 19:5-6; Exodus 24:10-11). The covenant-promise of God to the elect people at Sinai is an additional motive for their persevering. The Hebrew [ kaarat (Hebrew #3772)] for to "covenant" is, literally, to cut, alluding to the sacrificial victims cut in ratification of a covenant. So - or, and, connecting "I am with you" (Haggai 2:4) and "my Spirit remaineth among you;" "according to the word that I covenanted with you" being in a parenthesis.

My Spirit remaineth among you - to strengthen you for the work (Haggai 1:14; Zechariah 14:6). The inspiration of Haggai and Zechariah at this time was a specimen of the presence of God's Spirit remaining still with His people, as He had been with Moses and Israel of old (Ezra 5:1 ; Isaiah 63:11).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) According to the word.—Better, with the word. The clause is connected with the closing words of Haggai 2:4. Jehovah is present with them, and so is His Promise made by solemn covenant in the days of old.

So my spirit.—Better, and my spirit. Besides such promises of God’s abiding favour as Exodus 29:45-46, they have among them the abiding presence of His Holy Spirit. Having these, let them not be afraid. The evidence of the Divine Presence was the mission of inspired prophets, such as Haggai and Zechariah, and the Targum and the Rabbis are perhaps right in referring the words “and my spirit” exclusively to the “spirit of prophecy.” It may be noticed that the later Jews held that the Holy Spirit left the Church after the deaths of Zechariah and Malachi.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.
to the
Exodus 29:45,46; 33:12-14; 34:8,10
Numbers 11:25-29; Nehemiah 9:20,30; Psalms 51:11,12; Isaiah 63:11-14; Zechariah 4:6; John 14:16,17
Joshua 8:1; 2 Chronicles 20:17; Isaiah 41:10,13; Zechariah 8:13,15; Matthew 28:5; Acts 27:24; Revelation 1:17
Reciprocal: Ezekiel 43:4 - the glory;  Zephaniah 3:16 - be said

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Haggai 2:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".