Haggai 2 – Comfort and Hope from God & Did Haggai Lead a Messianic Rebellion?

“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
And he said unto him, all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve” (Matt 4:8-10).

Before I found out that You are real, when I would hear the word “oracle” I would think, “horse manure.”  And then when I first hooked up with You and I heard it I would think, “pagan horse manure.”

I figured an oracle was just a bunch of ancient mystical nonsense.  Psychics, people that babble about Magical Crystals, channeling, reincarnation, Confucius, and the like use that word. 

I wasn’t completely wrong because an oracle is an ancient mystical prophesy.  There’s no nonsense about it.  Yet, if it doesn’t come from You then I know it was manufactured from everyone’s favorite pain, the devil.

Yesterday I talked about the angels not having a better life then we do, just maybe an easier one.  And I said I would mention the person that has life much worse than ours, and that is Satan.  He has the worse life anyone can have and it’s going to get worse.

This book was written at a 3rd grade level and is for those who cannot see reality, hear or think.

The angels have You, we have You, Jesus and the Holy Ghost and with that we don’t need anything else.

Satan has nothing.  Everyone knows how it feels to fail on something or to get frustrated or hurt, but those are only temporary negative feelings.  Satan stays frustrated and knows that he’s a failure.

Every second of his life is bombarded with dissatisfaction because how could he be pleased with anything because there’s nothing he does that carries any value.

Did you notice I didn’t say he also feels hurt?  That guy cannot be hurt, he’s to evil and prideful that he can’t even comprehend the meaning of hurt. 

I know that when I, or anyone, wakes up and comes to You Satan is very displeased, but he isn’t hurt, just angered that Jesus won another soul.

I know that Jesus is the only thing necessary in life.  He is the only one that hands out free bus tickets to You.

“…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn 14:6).

It took me 45 years to figure that out and He proved to me that He is real and without Him I have nothing and can do nothing:

“I am the vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

I am the vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (Jn 15:1, 5).

But with Him:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil 4:13).

This is the last chapter so tomorrow we’ll begin with…

Haggai 2
Comfort and Hope from God

1 In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying,

2 Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying,

Greek Gods and Goddesses played an important part in lives of the Athenians because they were made up to explain things they did not understand. They helped the Athenians to hard times too. Also the Athenian dedicated.

“In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day” – Oct 17, 520 B.C., the last day of the feast of tabernacles.  It was a time to celebrate the summer harvest, though the crops were meager.  Solomon had dedicated the temple during this feast.

3 Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?

4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:

“I am with you” – I am the same God who performed the great wonders of the exodus.  The same God who helped Solomon will empower Zerubbabel and the people.

5 According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.

“Egypt” – proof that Haggai had Ex 3 in mind for his “I am with you” saying.

“My spirit” – the Holy Spirit had rested on Moses and the 70 elders as they had led the people out of Egypt and through the wilderness (Num 11:16-17; Isa 63:11).

Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology.

Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of light and the sun, truth and prophecy, healing, plague, music, poetry, and more.

Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu.

6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;

An announcement of the coming day of God’s judgment on the nations, which the fall of Persia to Alexander the Great (333-330 B.C.) would foreshadow.  Hebrew 12:26-27 relates this verse to the judgment of the nations at the second coming of Christ.

The background for the shaking of the nation’s here and in vv. 21-22 is the judgment on Egypt at the Red Sea.

7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.

“Fill…with glory” – “Glory” can refer to material splendor or to the presence of God.  Given Haggai’s message, it would seem that he has the latter in mind; just as God filled the tabernacle, so He will fill this new temple.

The latter references connect the glory of the Lord with the cloud that filled the sanctuary.  When Christ came to the earthly temple, God’s presence was evident as never before (see Lk 22:27, 32).

8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.

9 The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.

10 In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,

“Four and twentieth…ninth month” – December 18, 520 B.C., when winter crops were planted.

11 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying,

Hidden among rolling hills only a few miles from the scenic coast of southeastern Turkey, the ancient site of Didyma is famous from legendary times. Here was a natural spring where the beautiful Leto is supposed to have spent an hour of love with Zeus, then giving birth to the twins Artemis and Apollo (didymoi in Greek).

The most important oracle site in Asia Minor, its pronouncements to Croesus, Alexander the Great and other great kings altered the course of human history.

12 If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No.

“Shall it be holy?” – A question about transmitting holiness.  Consecrated meat made the garment “holy” because it was in direct contact with that garment, but the garment could not pass on that holiness to a third object.

13 Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.

“Shall it be unclean?” – ceremonial uncleanness is transmitted much more easily than holiness.  Anything touched by an unclean person becomes unclean (Num 19:11-13, 2).

14 Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.

“Every work…is unclean” – even though the people were back in the Holy Land, that holiness did not make them pure.  They needed to obey the Lord, particularly with regard to rebuilding the temple.

15 And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD:

1600 BC – 395 AD – Delphic Greece
Delphi, in Greece northwest of Athens, was a religious center for two millenia, from 1600 BC until 395 AD. By 1600 BC a shrine had been erected for Gaia, the Mother Goddess of west Asia, Then the myth held that the office of Oracle was held by the goddesses Themis and Phoebe.

Later, the site was believed to be sacred to Poseidon, the deity of earthquakes known as “Earth-Shaker”. During the Greek Dark Ages (11th-9th century BC), the temple was turned over to Apollo.

16 Since those days were, when one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the press fat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty.

17 I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labors of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD.

18 Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD’S temple was laid, consider it.

19 Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.

“Vine…fig tree…pomegranate…olive tree” – grapes, figs and pomegranates ripened in August and September, and olives from September to November.  These harvests, like the earlier grain crops, had produced little.

“Will I bless you” – because of their response to Haggai’s message, future abundance is assured.

20 And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying,

21 Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;

22 And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, everyone by the sword of his brother.

The Sanctum Sanctorum, the Holiest of Holies, was at the opposite end, nearest the viewpoint in this picture. This was where the Oracle of Delphi sat on a tripod above a crevasse that emitted ethylene gas leading to the Oracle’s strange mental states.

The Oracle would babble semi-coherently. Her ravings would then be “translated” by the temple priests into elegant hexameters.

“Overthrow…overthrow” – the Hebrew for these words is used with reference to Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:25; Amos 4:11).

“Everyone…of his brother’ – the plight of the armies of Midian, Gog, and the nations fighting against Jerusalem in the last days.

23 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.

“Signet” – a kind of seal that functioned as a signature and was worn on one’s finger.  Like the other seals, it could be used as a pledge or guarantee of full payment?  Its mention here probably reverses the curse placed on King Jeholachin in Jer 22:24.

Zerubbabel would then be a guarantee that someday the Messiah descended from David will come.  In 2 Cor 1:22 the Holy Spirit is the seal guaranteeing the believer’s future inheritance.

Did Haggai Lead a Messianic Rebellion?

The book of Haggai is one of the shortest documents in the Bible, consisting of four messages totaling only about 600 words. It is also one of the most precisely dated books in all of Scripture.

The early mystery schools of the Greeks centered around a kind of play or ritual reenactment of the life of such gods as Osiris, Dionysus, Demeter—divinities most often associated with the underworld, the realm of the dead, the powers of darkness, and the process of rebirth.

Because of the importance of the regenerative process, the rites of the mysteries were usually built around a divine female as the agent of transformation and regeneration.

While the initiates of the mystery cult enacted the life cycle of the gods who triumphed over death and who were reborn, they also asserted their own path of wisdom that would enable them to conquer death and accomplish resurrection in the afterlife, with rebirth in a new body in a new existence.

Its four oracles are reported to have been received by the prophet within the space of 15 weeks during the fall of the second year of the Persian king Darius I, who reigned from 521- 486 B.C.

During this period Judah existed as part of a large administrative district or satrapy of the Persian Empire called nanaharah (“Beyond the River”; cf. Eze 4:10; Neh 2:7). Each satrapy contributed annual tribute and was ruled by a Persian governor.

Nevertheless, Persian imperial policy beginning with Cyrus the Great and continuing under Darius encouraged a significant degree of local autonomy. An extension of this policy led to Persian support for the construction of local temples and sanctuaries (2 Chr 36:23; Isa 44:26-28).

Haggai’s central concern within this historical context was to encourage the full reconstruction of the temple in Jerusalem. His messages were directed at the principal leaders of the Jerusalem community—Zerubbabel, the governor, and Joshua, the high priest.

Certain aspects of Haggai’s imagery have led some to conclude that this prophet hoped not only for the rebuilding of the temple but also for the restoration of the Davidic monarchy. In his final oracle Haggai applied lofty titles to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel and grandson of the last Davidic king, Jehoiachin:

Zerubbabel is called “my servant” (Hag 2:23), a title frequently applied to David (1 Kgs 11:34; Ps 78:70; Eze 34:23) and to Isaiah’s Messianic “servant” (Isa 42:1; 49:6; 52:13; 53:11).

God declared that he would shake the heavens and the earth, overthrowing thrones of kingdoms and the power of the nations (Hag 2:21-22). The Messianic kingdom was about to begin, with Zerubbabel at the top.

Zerubbabel is said to have been chosen and honored like a royal signet ring (v.23).

The Delphic Oracle was the means through which worshipers could hear the words of god Apollo, spoken through a priestess (Sybil) Pythia, who was over 50 years old.

Pythia was always a woman that was chosen by a male priest of the oracle. Characteristic of the oracle of Delphi is the Castalian Spring. Questioners paid a levy called in Greek “pelanos” and sacrificed an animal at the altar. The question was then put to Pythia by the male priest. It has to be mentioned that the only one who could see and communicate with Pythia was this priest- the questioner had no eye contact.

The Pythia would answer in a trance, perhaps introduced by the vaporous from a crack in the ground over which she sat on tripod combined with the laurel leaves she was chewing. Her incantations were interpreted by the priest and were almost always ambiguous.

Two questions have been raised:

1.  Did Haggai believe Zerubbabel to be the Messiah?

2.  Did the prophet call for a rebellion against Persian rule?

In reality, Haggai neither exhorted Zerubbabel to claim a Messianic office nor urged the Jews to revolt against Persia. Nothing in the book suggests an expectation on Haggai’s part that the promises of Zion’s final exaltation would be imminently fulfilled or that Zerubbabel would be the agent of their fulfillment.

To the contrary, Zerubbabel was simply exhorted to perform his task in re-building the Jerusalem temple in anticipation of a greater future yet to come. Zerubbabel was called upon to live up to the heritage handed down from his ancestor David, but beyond the rebuilding of the temple no specific actions were called for.

It is true that the book of Haggai reflects the hope, common to all the prophets, for a glorious future for Zion:

God will shake the universe (vv.6, 21).

He will remove the dominion of the nations (v. 22) and bring their tribute to Israel (vv.7-8; cf. Ex 12:35-36).

He will accomplish a second exodus (Hab 2:5, 22) and install his chosen king (v. 23).

He will once again dwell in the midst of his people (1:13; 2:4, 9).

…the Book of Zechariah.