A Promised Kingdom
God gives us promised outcomes, but rarely works the way we expect. We lose perspective on His omniscience when we think God should be working in a different way. When we look for answers and ask for wisdom, He often graciously gives us encouragement and glimpses into His work. Zerubbabel the priest must have been concerned that the Jews were still under Gentile dominion. They had built the house, the LORD had promised glory, the people were reminded of their cleansing and blessing, but what of being under Persian rule? What about the fact that the LORD pronounced a curse upon their previous king and his family (Jeremiah 22:30)? The LORD had a plan for their future, just as He does for you. Zerubbabel would learn directly through Haggai that His plan for the Jews did not change and neither would He forsake Israel. Messianic and kingdom promises would not be circumnavigated.
Haggai 2:20-23 - A Promised Kingdom
V20-22 – Bringing Down Gentile Rule
First, the LORD reminds Zerubbabel that He will shake the heavens and the earth as He told the people less than 2 months earlier. All that is within the cosmic universe is within the control of God. Hebrews 1:3 reminds us that the Son of God “upholds all things by the word of His power.” And not only the universe itself, but v22 reminds us of the kingdoms and armies within it.
The LORD calls Himself “the LORD of hosts” 14 times in this short book, lastly in v23. Though Darius was squashing every challenger to his new kingship, it was the LORD of hosts who was overall. Haggai prophesied of a day yet to come where the strength of the kingdoms of the Gentiles would be destroyed. This looks on to the fulfillment of Daniel 2 when the Messiah, the “stone cut without hands,” will smash Gentile world domination. It lifts our gaze to when Daniel 7 will be fulfilled, when the Son of Man, having gone away to receive dominion and glory from the Ancient of Days, will return to establish His indestructible kingdom. The LORD will do this when the King of kings and Lord of lords comes to destroy all that oppose Him (Rev 19:11-21).
V23 – Establishing a King
In the final verse of the prophecy, Zerubbabel is lifted up as the representative of the Messiah and as the signet ring. Zechariah prophesies similarly to Joshua the high priest in 6:9-15, crowning him like a king as a representation of the Messianic promise of a king-priest (Psa 110:4). Zerubbabel is called “My servant,” and “chosen,” reminiscent of Isaiah’s prophetic words about the Messiah (Isa. 42). He is noted as the son of Shealtiel which shows him to be in the Davidic royal line.
He says that he will be as a signet ring. This is significant because Jeconiah, the last king of Israel was said to be a “signet upon My right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; and I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life” (Jer 22:24b-25a). Now Zerubbabel representatively would resume the kingly role which Messiah, the Lord Jesus, would hold. Though Jeconiah would have none of his children sit upon the throne, one would still come from the line of David through virgin birth and fulfill all the promises of God. Notice also that David, Jeconiah, Shealtiel and Zerubbabel are in the line of Christ through Joseph in Matthew 1, but of these four Jeconiah is absent from the line of Christ through Mary in Luke 3.
The difficulties of the earth are beyond our ability to solve. When the purposes of God look bleak and hopeless, know that God is able to move in such a way that no action of mortals can disrupt His ways. Though some entertain the notion that God can break His promise due to human failure, He will fulfill all of His promises. He will establish His kingdom. Christ will sit upon the Throne of David. Our God, who will keep His promises to Israel, will also keep His promises to us.