Haggai Chapter 2:23 The Construction of The Millennial Kingdom
Haggai 2:23 On that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,’” declares the LORD of hosts
Haggai concludes with a final word of encouragement for Zerubbabel who is a type or foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus Christ. The verse begins with, on that day. This is the day revealed in the preceding verses as the day of the Lord (Hag 2:20-22). A time where God will shake the heavens and the earth, overthrowing the governments of the world to prepare the way for the messianic kingdom. The great day when the mystery of God is finished, the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and Jesus finally takes his great power and reigns over the earth (Rev 10:7; 11:15-18).
We see that the Lord calls Zerubbabel his servant and says that he is chosen. This should reveal that the Lord is not merely speaking about Zerubbabel here because these are distinctly messianic titles. The prophet Isaiah writing about the Messiah describes him as the chosen servant whom God delights in (Is 42:1). He writes that the coming servant will be a light to the nations bringing salvation to the earth (Is 49:6); that he would open the eyes of the blind (Is 42:7); and most importantly that he would justify many people by bearing their iniquities (Is 53:11). Clearly, he was not speaking about Zerubbabel who is merely a type, but rather Jesus who is the light of the world. During the transfiguration a voice came from heaven saying, “This is my Son, My Chosen One” (Luke 9:35). Jesus in the truest sense is the chosen servant of the Lord. Paul tells us that Christ became a servant to the Jewish people to confirm the promises regarding the Messiah (Rom 15:8); and that he took the form of a bondservant, and humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross (Phil 2:7-8).
Abraham, David, the nation of Israel and the Church are also called servants and chosen by God (Gen 26:24; Jer 33:26; Is 41:8; Deut 7:6; 1 Pet 2:9). Every saint is truly a servant of, and chosen by, God. In fact, Malachi tells us that the day of the Lord will distinguish between those who serve God, and those who do not (Mal 3:18). However, all of the children of God regardless of the dispensation they live in were chosen in Christ. Christ is the ultimate servant of the Lord, he is chosen by God, and we are chosen in him before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4).
We see that on the day of the Lord, he will take Zerubbabel and make him like a signet ring which was a sign of the authority of the king, it bore the king’s seal. When Joseph was made 2nd in command of Egypt, he was given the signet ring of Pharaoh, and the Egyptians were commanded to obey him (Gen 41:41-43). Therefore, whoever has the signet ring of God has been delegated the authority and power of the kingdom of God. Prior to the captivity in Babylon Zerubbabel’s grandfather Coniah was described as a signet ring also. However, he was described as a signet ring that was taken off by God, meaning his authority was taken away from him due to his rebellion (Jer 22:24-30).
This promise re-establishes Zerubbabel as the official representative of the Davidic dynasty through which the Messiah will ultimately come. The Lord is reiterating the unconditional promises made to his servant David, that his kingdom would endure forever, and he would never lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel (Jer 33:17). All of the promises of God find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ (2 Cor 1:20), who was given the throne of his father David, and whose kingdom will never end (Luke 1:32-33).
These final words from Haggai starkly contrast the doomed thrones of the nations, with the throne of David which will be exalted. The message is that on the day of the Lord, when all the governments of the world have their authority taken away (Dan 2:44), the Lord will preserve the nation of Israel and delegate to the Davidic king the authority of the kingdom. However, Zerubbabel died long before the day of the Lord, and he never reached anything this significant in his time. We must understand the message is speaking of Zerubbabel as a type of Christ, and as a saint who receives authority in him.
Scripture is clear that all authority in heaven and on earth belongs to Jesus (Mt 28:18). The message reveals that when Christ who is of the Davidic line thru Zerubbabel takes back the dominion on earth, he will then delegate authority to his saints (Dan 7:27). Jesus will rule the earth, from the Davidic throne in Jerusalem with a rod of iron (Ps 2:9). Israel will again be the leader of the world (Zech 8:23), and the church will also be given authority over the nations (Rev 2:26). For it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32). We see a clear line of authority from God to the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Then finally, to the saints whether of the nation of Israel or the Church, we all have an inheritance in the kingdom of God thru faith in Jesus Christ, who is the greater Zerubbabel.
Christians are being conformed into the image of Jesus as he will be the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:29). We see a glorious unity between Christ and his saints (John 17:23). Jesus is a king, and we are being made into a kingdom, Jesus is our great high-priest, and we too will be priests of God. Jesus is chosen and the saints are as well. Jesus is the chosen redeemer, and we are the chosen redeemed. Jesus was a servant, and the saints are as well. Jesus receives the signet ring of authority from his Father and the saints are delegated authority as well.
Culmination and Review
Now let’s take a few moments and conclude with a summary of what we have learned from Haggai. Remember the beleaguered and impoverished Jewish people have returned to their native land after 70 years of captivity to Babylon. They had begun to rebuild the temple and after meeting resistance ceased activity for well over a decade. The ministry of Haggai began in 520 B.C. Haggai delivered 5 messages to the nation over a period of just 4 months. His sole priority was to encourage the people to immediately resume temple reconstruction. In our temple series we learned that the temples of the Bible are meant to guide mankind back into dwelling with God as we originally did in the garden of Eden. The temple represents God’s house or dwelling place, and all of the temples point towards reconciliation with God thru the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev 21:3).
The 1st message from Haggai on August 29th, 520 B.C. was a swift rebuke for the peoples indifference towards building the temple. The nation was struggling with severe poverty and the Lord told them to consider their ways. Haggai reveals to them the reason for their circumstances is they cared more about their own homes then they did the house of the Lord. He then commands them to immediately gather supplies and begin to rebuild the temple. Haggai reminds them the purpose of rebuilding the temple is so that God might be glorified. As previously mentioned, every temple points towards Jesus and the glory of God shines the brightest in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:6).
The 2nd message came about 23 days later on Sept 21st, 520 B.C. the Lord merely says, “I am with you.” This was meant to encourage the nation that Yahweh would not forsake them. The nation experienced a genuine revival over this short period of 3 weeks. They feared the word of the Lord, showed reverence for God, and by the gracious operation of God’s spirit began to rebuild the temple. All of the revivals in the Old Testament, including this one led to a reestablishment of the sacrificial system, which of course points towards Jesus, our Passover lamb who was sacrificed for us (1 Cor 5:7).
The 3rd message came about 3 weeks later on October 17th, 520 B.C. Some of the older Israelites who had seen the glory of the Solomonic temple were upset over Zerubbabel’s lesser temple in comparison. The Lord encourages the people not to fall into despair but rather to work hardily. Haggai reminds them that the same God that led the Hebrews out of slavery to Egypt is abiding in their midst now. He finishes the message with a glimpse into the future, describing a time where the Lord will overthrow the gentile kingdoms of the world to make way for the messianic kingdom. The Lord promises that this beleaguered nation will once again rule, the wealth of all her enemies will be given over to her, and the glory of this temple will far exceed Solomon’s. That a time of great peace is coming for the nation. This will be fulfilled at the 2nd coming of Christ, when he will overthrow the governments of the world and rule from Jerusalem in his temple, with all of the nations streaming up to him, so that they might hear his words (Is 2:2).
The 4th message came roughly 2 months later on Dec 18th, 520 B.C. to remind them of why they were experiencing economic hardship. The Lord begins by giving them an object lesson regarding the ceremonial law. He proves to the people that holiness is not communicated, whereas unholiness is. This lesson can be learned quite easily from nature, you can catch a sickness, but you cannot catch health. Therefore, if something holy is tainted it immediately becomes unholy, whereas if something unholy touches something holy it does not become holy. He then goes on to explain that the entire nation had become unholy because it neglected to rebuild the Lord’s temple. They wanted to offer up sacrifices to God, but were not willing to rebuild. The Lord would not accept a mere outward form of religion devoid of true heartfelt obedience. Haggai told the people with that attitude towards God everything they offer is unclean. This is why the nation was experiencing poor crops and severe economic poverty. However, now that the people have repented, and demonstrated that repentance by rebuilding over several months, the Lord promises they will be blessed from that day onward.
The 5th and final message came on the same day as the 4th. The Lord not only promised to bless them moving forward, but he also once again gives them a glimpse into the future, with more details surrounding the messianic age to come. This message was addressed to Zerubbabel alone as he was of the Davidic line and foreshadows the Lord Jesus Christ. Haggai reiterates the same terminology from his 3rd message several months prior that the Lord is going to shake the heavens and the earth at his 2nd coming. He goes on to reveal that on the day of the Lord the satanic authority behind the governments of the world will be destroyed. This will be fulfilled at the battle of Armageddon when the armies of the world will be gathered to the plain of Megiddo and annihilated. The final verse of this book then promises that amidst the overthrow of the kingdoms of the world, the Lord will once again exalt the throne of David and return the authority to Israel with Christ sitting on his throne in Jerusalem. The times of the gentiles will come to an end, Israel will once again rule, and Christ will be king over all the earth.
I have sought in this commentary to help illuminate the glories of the kingdom for both the Church and Israel. We all have a part to play in the kingdom of God. Israel is that chosen nation thru which the Messiah according to the flesh was born and to which he will return to reign over the earth. The church is that foolish nation which is not a nation; men chosen from every tribe, tongue, and language of the world gathered into the flock of God. Both groups although distinct from one another are purchased with the blood of Jesus, and will be married to God by eternal covenant.
In the age to come Christ will reign from his millennial temple for 1000 years, the Church and Israel will serve and reign with him as we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hag 2:7; Heb 12:26-27). Furthermore, this kingdom will launch us into eternity as we inherit the new heavens and new earth, where there will be no temple. For the Lord God almighty, and the Lamb will be its temple (Rev 21:22). We will finally dwell with God in perfect unity again as we did in the garden of Eden. We will see his face (Rev 22:4).
In conclusion my dear friends, if you forget everything you have learned from this book, please never forget this. Jesus Christ is building a kingdom, and he has died for his enemies so that they might be forgiven and become his subjects. Let that be your anthem as you make your pilgrimage through this world, never forget this place is not your home. The King has died for his own subjects. You are citizens of heaven, you are ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is coming back in vengeance (2 Thess 1:7). Let that be your banner, the King has died for his own subjects. How can we not joyfully serve this king? The King has died for his own subjects. How can you not want to give your life for the King who has died for you?
The King has died for His own subjects…
Mark 1:15 The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.