-On the twenty-first day of the seventh month (Tishri, September-October on our calendar), the word of the LORD came again by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the remnant of the people saying, “Who is left among you who saw this Temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison?” But then, God told both Zerubbabel, Joshua, and all the people to “now take courage” and “work, for I am with you.” He reminded them of His promise made long ago when they came out of Egypt and that His Spirit “is abiding in your midst; do not fear!” This was an exhortive command in the jussive subjunctive framework by interpretation. God told them that He would, “Once more in a little while…shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land.” He would “shake all the nations, and they will come with the wealth of all nations,” and the LORD of hosts declares He will, “Fill this House with glory.” “The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine.” The LORD maintains, and “The latter glory of this House will be greater than the former.” He assures to give peace in this place (Haggai 2:1-9). What a promising future, what encouragement, right? I take this to refer to the Millennial Kingdom when Christ will rule over this whole earth (Isaiah 61, Ezekiel 36:33-38, Revelation 20:6).
-On the twenty-fourth of the ninth month now (Kislev, November-December on our calendar), still in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Haggai a third time saying, “Ask now the priests for a ruling: If a man carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and touches any of these, will the latter become unclean?” The priests answered from their Law, “No.” Then, Haggai went further, “If one is unclean from a corpse touches any of these, will the latter become unclean?” Now the priests said, “It will become unclean.” Now the prophet makes his point, “‘So is this people. And so is this nation before Me.’ Declares the LORD, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.’” The LORD warned them to again “consider from this day onward,” and “before one stone was placed on another in the Temple of the LORD” in an effort to bring them back to Him in repentance and obedience. Their sustenance had been withheld. They had been smitten with a blasting wind, mildew, and hail destroying every work of their hands, yet they neglected to turn properly to their Creator and Covenant Keeper. God once more asks them to “consider from this day forward” that from the day when His Temple was founded there was “seed still in the barn” including the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree, which had not borne fruit. Even so, God promised to bless them (Haggai 2:10-19).
-The LORD spoke for the second time that day, and forth time altogether, through Haggai specifically to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah. God was going to shake the heavens and the earth. He was going to “overthrow the thrones and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations;” and “overthrow the chariots and their riders.” The horses and their riders would also go down on that day in violence by the sword declared by the LORD. Zerubbabel was chosen as the servant of God to be made like a signet ring according to God’s decree (Haggai 2:19-23). In other words, this signet ring guaranteed authority and authenticity, which refers to the Messianic line (Matthew 1:12-13, Luke 3:27).
-*Application* In a sense, all of us who have trusted Jesus are chosen in His family line (Ephesians 1:4). Let us thank Him for allowing His great and magnificent promises to be fulfilled in us through the blood of Christ Jesus (Hebrews 13:20-21). Let’s resolve to place a higher priority on God’s work in comparison to our personal comforts. When we give Him first place in our lives, He will help us bear much fruit and give us strength and guidance for the journey (2 Chronicles 16:9, John 15:5, Psalm 73:26, John 16:13). His encouragement is enough.
Verses to Memorize: Haggai 2:17, 23