May 5, 2011

Minor Prophets LXXXIV: Glory! Glory! Glory!

In Haggai 2 we see three precisely dated prophecies from Haggai. The first is 2:1-9, the second 2:10-19, and the third in 2:20-23).

Haggai 2:1-9 gives us Haggai’s second message from God. It is a prophetic promise of the future glory of the Temple. As with the beginning of Haggai 1 we have another superscription precisely dated. This time it is the “twenty-first of the seventh month” or October 17th 520 B.C. The people that had know the glory of the previous temple mourned the loss of its glory. This new temple paled by comparison and they stated as much. God tells Haggai to ask three questions to bring to light the unfavorable comparisons. They are rhetorical questions that force the people to come face-to-face with the fact that their new temple was not going to be as glorious as Solomon’s. The Lord encourages the people by urging the two leaders to take action (Zerubbabel, Joshua) to be strong and to work. He reaffirms He is in their presence just as the Spirit of God was with the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. His Holy Spirit was with them. He would once more shake the heavens and the earth. He would fill His house with glory.

...and Here is where the interpretation gets hairy. The “desired of the nations” is either people willingly giving silver and gold or a Messianic figure would come to adorn the Temple (at least this is the implication from the text). My interpretation is that the restored temple would have a glory greater than that of Solomon because during its tenure in Jerusalem it would be entered by it’s Messiah Jesus Christ. I lean towards the messianic figure of Jesus.

Haggai 2:10-19 gives us the third message from the Lord. It is now December 18th, 520 B.C. The Lord commands Haggai to ask what the Law says. We see question(s) mentioning transmission of holiness and was answered in the negative by the priests. Some of the topics included Consecrated meat, garment, bread, stew, wine, oil or any other food. The whole point of this was to eventually have Haggai explain to them that the disobedience renders even sacrificial worship unacceptable to God. Israel had been defiled and “from this day on” they were to have changed and what they were to be would be contrasted to what they had been. Because of this there was a promise from God of a present blessing in contrast to the previous chastising for bad behavior.

Haggai 2:20-23: The fourth message is on the same day as the last December 18th, 520 B.C. God tells Haggai that would overthrow the Gentile kingdoms/nations at some point in the future. God would “overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms”. God then goes on to state through Haggai that He will fulfill this prophecy on that future day of the Gentile’s judgment. "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." Through Zerubbabel the Davidic line would continue because from it would come the Messiah. Through this Messiah the Davidic Kingdom would be restored. Of course we know that restoration to be in the form of Jesus Christ.

As we would expect because he was part of the Davidic line that leads to Jesus Christ, we will see his name again in the New Testament in the geneology of Matthew 1:12 & 13:

“After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud...

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