The Book of Haggai : Study No.6 The Victory of the Messiah (2:20-23)

Study No.6   The Victory of the Messiah (2:20-23)

(Vs.20 -22) “The word of the Lord came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: “Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I will shake the heavens and the earth. I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.

These remaining verses are eschatological and point to the distant future which is still to come even in this age in which we are now living. The words of God “I will shake the heavens and the earth” are the same as those in 2:6-7 and these refer to the great upheavals that will occur on a global scale that precede the establishment of God’s kingdom, being the Millennial reign of the Messiah after He has returned to earth. In its Jewish context Israel will have a Davidic king sitting on His throne at Jerusalem (Jeremiah 30:9) (Isaiah 9:6-7).

When the Messiah comes again He will shake everything that God has not established as we saw before in this prophecy (2:6-7). Today we live in a fast paced world where mankind, through the advancement of technology, are establishing man-made structures at every level of society that are centred on man’s achievements that they utilize to their own glory and prominence to do away with God and to make Him irrelevant to their self-interested ambitions, pursuits and lifestyles.

However, the day is coming when the LORD will suddenly and without warning destroy all the works that man has built as a monument to themselves such as we saw in the dismantling of the Tower of Babel where God confused their communication with each other and they were not able to keep building their empire which was an affront To God. Nimrod, a first type of the Antichrist in the Bible, was titled as ”a mighty hunter before the LORD” in the English translations of the Bible, however, in the Hebrew text of the Bible it is rendered that “Nimrod was a mighty hunter in the face of God.” In other words he was an Arche rebel in the character of Satan!

God is not only going to shake things on earth in the physical and visible realm, but also shake and punish the powers and principalities in the unseen spiritual realm of fallen spirit beings residing in the atmosphere above the circumference of the earth. After these things the Messiah Himself will reign on Mt Zion and in Jerusalem in the Millennial Temple and His reign will be a glorious thing to behold!

The prophet Isiah writes about this. “The earth is broken asunder, The earth is split through, The earth is shaken violently. The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard And it totters like a shack, For its transgression is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again. So it will happen in that day, That the Lord will punish the host of heaven on high, And the kings of the earth on earth. They will be gathered together Like prisoners in the dungeon, And will be confined in prison; And after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, And His glory will be before His elders” (Isaiah  24:19-23).

When He comes back the Messiah will overturn royal thrones being the political leaders of the nations globally that have survived His Second Coming and the armies of these nations will turn on each other. If you think we have wars and rumours of wars and conflict between ethnic groups within nations and outright wars between the empires of man today, they will not compare with the final victorious battle of the Messiah and the hosts of heaven when He takes the fight to His enemies (Isaiah 63:1-6) (Joel 3:12-16) (Zechariah 14:3-5) (Revelation 19:11-21). The word “overturn” or “overthrow” is the same word used for the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah in other passages of scripture such as in Deuteronomy 29:23; Isaiah 13:19; Jeremiah 20:16 and in Amos 4:11.

As sudden and final as Sodom’s ruin was, so it will be with the Gentile royal thrones that have arrayed themselves against the LORD and against His anointed Messiah and eternal Son, our Lord Jesus. The world will not be reformed as such but will see utter destruction as was seen in the destruction of these wicked cities in the plain. Lot’s rescue teaches us something about the final rapture and gathering the saints to meet the Messiah in the air at His Second Coming (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

This total destruction of the world powers is the fate that awaits all those that have dared to flaunt their power in the face of God! As God Himself has said; “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay!” (Deuteronomy 32:35). See also (Deuteronomy 32:43) (Psalm 94:1) (Nahum 1:2, 6). God’s vengeance will fall on all those who have persecuted His saints!

As we read in Rabbi Apostle Paul’s second letter to the assembly of Thessalonian New covenant believers being tested, tried and severely persecuted by ungodly men. He writes to encourage them; “For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marvelled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-10).

As New Covenant believers today we are at present subject to a greater of lesser degree to ungodly governments, and this will get worse as the day of the LORD approaches. However, the LORD will avenge His elect saints who cry out to Him day and night to see their adversary Satan driven off by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the LORD will answer His people speedily and without delay that persevere in faith against an implacable adversary! (Luke 18:1-8). Some New Covenant believers who have already gone to be with the Lord Jesus through martyrdom and who are at present crying out to the LORD to avenge their deaths, are being given white robes and told to wait a little longer until their fellow believers on earth, who as are yet to be martyred as they were, have joined them in glory (Revelation 5:9-11).

So then, the overthrowing of the chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders is reminiscent of the description of the total destruction of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1, 5). The terror and confusion that will come upon the unsaved inhabitants of the earth will be so great that men will kill their brothers and comrades in arms. Just when it seems the political world powers and their empires seem to be unassailable, God will shakes and overthrow them and establish His Messianic kingdom on earth.

The apostle John also writes about this. “I looked when He (the Lamb, being the Messiah) broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:12-16). This is the time when God will shake everything and whatever He has not established will be shattered beyond recovery. And then finally we read…

(Vs23) “‘On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, My servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Zerubbabel was in the royal line, but he never reigned as king nor were there any aspirations on the part of Haggai to make him king. The context of these verses is clearly eschatological, and Haggai used Zerubbabel, the current representative of David’s royal line, to point to the Messiah to come in the future. The reference God makes to Zerubbabel as “My Servant” as the one whom God has chosen is reminiscent of the Messianic “servant passages” of scripture found in Isaiah chapters 42, 49, 50 and 53. God’s Messiah our Lord Jesus will successfully accomplish the task for which He was sent into the world. The phrase God uses “I will make you like my signet ring” refers to the authority given to the Messiah who will be God’s personal representative on earth, the living and eternal Word of God Himself, who was made to be flesh and blood and that tabernacled among us as God’s Living Temple on earth (John 1:1-4, 14). The designation is one of high honour and privilege.

It is interesting to note that the curse on Zerubbabel’s grandfather Jehoiachin (Coniah) is couched in language involving the signet ring. Though he was the signet ring on God’s right hand, he was pulled off by God and cast into the lap of his enemies the Babylonians (Jeremiah 22:24). But now the Davidic line in the person of the Messiah is restored to the place of authority and honour, God’s signet ring. So the end of this book ends with a note of encouragement and with a future hope for Israel and for her spiritual offspring, saved Gentiles spiritually grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel and together becoming a part of God’s spiritual living temple made up of all those whom He has redeemed by the blood of Messiah. The labour of Zerubbabel was not in vain.

There was an immediate blessing for the remnant of Judah working on God’s Temple, but also a future glory to come in a Living Temple of surpassing splendour, a king who will rule as God’s personal representative on earth residing in the Millennial Temple on the original sight of Mt Zion in Jerusalem, a King having absolute power over the nations then existing on earth that have not been destroyed by His Second Coming. There was every reason for the remnant of Judah to be encouraged, to keep on building God’s temple with a future hope in their hearts that one day the Messiah would sit in His Temple as the King of the Jews and as the KING OF KINGS AND THE LORD OF LORDS! Their hope then of the Messiah to come, is our hope today as the living temple of God on earth in whom God dwells by His Spirit.

Having said this, in the Jewish context and in the contest of Haggai’s prophecy, does not do away with the fact that in the Millennial Messianic Kingdom for 1,000 years after the close of this present age, there will be a physical millennial temple at Jerusalem, and the Messiah will sit on David’s throne at Jerusalem. In the mean time until the Messiah returns we must continue to seek and to see “living stones” added to God’s living temple. In doing this until the Lord Jesus comes back, we will be building His temple on earth, and when the Messiah our Lord Jesus does comes back we will fully appreciate the reward we will receive at His hand, because we obeyed and served Him on earth during our brief sojourn down here. In that day, after He has returned and we stand before Him, having been actively engaged in building His living temple, we will hear Him say to us “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!” (Matthew 25:23). This indeed will be the complete Victory of the Messiah!