THE SOVEREIGN GOD WILL EXALT HIS CHOSEN KING TO RULE OVER ALL NATIONS AND KINGDOMS
This passage is addressed to Zerubbabel. But the language goes way beyond anything that was fulfilled in his day. Yes, there was a near term fulfillment in Zerubbabel being raised up as a type of the Son of David who would come to rule in the end times. But the prophet is looking forward to that eschatological day of the Lord when the kingdoms of this earth will be overthrown and God’s purpose for history will be realized in the coronation of the Messiah, the Servant of the Lord, the chosen One who will reign in the Millennial Kingdom.
There remains much labor to be undertaken to further the kingdom of God. There are many spiritual battles that must be fought. There are many hardships to be endured. There is a need for great perseverance. But this is not a postmill picture of Christians gradually bringing about the spread of the kingdom until it takes over the world. This does not sound like an amill picture of the church reigning over all enemies today. Instead, here we get a majestic glimpse at God’s end game premillennial strategy. It will be sudden and it will be cataclysmic. The curtain is rolled back and we are allowed to gaze upon the final scene of human history. The losers are exposed as weak and defenseless before the Lord of hosts who comes as the conquering warrior. The Servant of the Lord is elevated as the one chosen from all eternity to rule the kingdom of God on earth. There should be no surprises on that final day. The script is here for anyone to read.
Our privilege today is to:
– Check our priorities to make sure we are giving full attention to what really matters;
– Commit whole-heartedly to the work of the Lord, knowing that we labor on the winning team in performing tasks that have eternal significance;
– Consecrate ourselves entirely to the Lord so that He can release His abundant blessing on our labors;
– Anticipate the Crowning of the Messiah as King over God’s Kingdom on earth.
There are 3 charges to us – things that we are commanded to do. But most importantly will be what God has promised to do on our behalf. He will Crown His chosen one as the signet ring who will rule in majesty and power. Those are the 4 messages comprising the book of Haggai.
(:20-21a) SETTING FOR MESSAGE #4
A. Prophetic Message #4
“Then the word of the Lord came a second time to Haggai . . . saying”
B. Date Stamp
“On the twenty-fourth day of the month”
Mackay: This introduction parallels that of 2:10, both messages being given on 18th December 520 B.C., the day when there was a formal ceremony in the Temple ruins to mark the resumption of the restoration work.
C. Target Audience
“Speak to Zerubbabel governor of Judah, saying”
Only Zerubbabel singled out this time
Roper: Zerubbabel was the political leader, the governor of Judah. He was the grandson of the last legitimate king of Judah, Jehoiachin. He was in the line of succession that led from David down through all the kings of Judah, right on through to Messiah, if you read the genealogies in the New Testament. In terms of the blood line, he had the right to the throne.
Taylor: Like many other Old Testament promises, these predictions had both a near dimension and a more distant one. Haggai’s promises given to Zerubbabel, while true of him in a limited way, find their ultimate expression in a greater Zerubbabel who was to come. It is not surprising that in the genealogies of Jesus provided by Matthew and Luke, Zerubbabel is mentioned as part of the messianic line.
I. (:21b-22) THE DEFEAT OF ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE NATIONS –
FOUR PROMISES OF DESTRUCTION ACCOMPLISHED BY GOD HIMSELF
(Note repeated use of the first person – the Lord’s personal initiative and sovereign accomplishment is in view)
A. (:21b) Rocking the Entire World
“I am going to shake the heavens and the earth.”
Mackay: But the shaking is more than a physical response to the Lord’s intervention. What is referred to is the action of the Lord upsetting not so much the physical framework of the universe, but those political and social structures that seemed so oppressive to the Jews. All was under his control, and he would act to ensure that the domination exerted against them would come to an end. It is the Lord who acts on a universal scale for the sake of the house of David and for the good of his people.
B. (:22a) Overthrowing All Thrones
“I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms”
Mackay: It is the Lord’s prerogative and power to cause kingdoms to fall (Ps. 46:6; Dan. 4:34-35; 5:26).
C. (:22b) Destroying All Power
“and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations;”
D. (:22c) Defeating All Opposition
“and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders, and the horses and their riders will go down, everyone by the sword of another.”
Feinberg: The destruction begun by the Lord will be brought to a conclusion through the insanity of civil strife (see also Ezk 38:21; Zech 14:13). These events are to be set in the days of the War of Armageddon. By no stretch of the imagination can the events of this verse be twisted to fit into some past conflicts or political movements of once-great empires. . . David’s secure throne is here contrasted with the tottering dynasties of the world.
II. (:23) THE ENTHRONEMENT OF THE MESSIAH TO RULE OVER THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH
A. Timing of the Messiah’s Enthronement
“‘On that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts”
B. Targeting of the Messiah’s Prefigurement
“‘I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,’ declares the Lord”
C. Trumpeting of the Messiah’s Majesty
“I will make you like a signet ring”
Roper: But you may recall that Jeremiah had said to Jehoiachin “I will strip you like a signet ring [the same term] from my finger, and none of your descendants will ever sit on the throne,” because of Jehoiachin’s wickedness. But God says to Zerubbabel, who was a descendant of Jehoiachin, and who knew that he never would have power to rule, that though he would not reign over Judah (And that was true; he went back to Babylon and perished.), he would have power and authority to rule within his own life, and within the sphere of the responsibility given to him. The Jews knew that ultimately this prophecy was to be fulfilled in Messiah. All the Jewish commentaries looked to Zerubbabel as a type of the One who was to come, the king of Israel, who would reign to the end of time, whose kingdom would never be shaken, who would always have authority. He would be like a signet ring on the Lord’s hand. A signet ring is a symbol of authority; kings never took it off. And Haggai says, “Zerubbabel, that’s what you’ll be. You’ll be secure, you’ll be strong. Everything else will be shaken, but your kingdom won’t be shaken.”
D. Testifying to the Messiah’s Election
“‘for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”
Nobody has a problem with election in this context – when it involves God the Father sovereignly choosing to elevate His own Son to be the King over His kingdom on earth. Why do they have a problem with God exercising His sovereign choice in other contexts?
Mackay: This choice is not an arbitrary act of God, but a selection determined by his good pleasure as one that will further his purposes.