Notes on Haggai 2:20-23, Haggai's fourth message
by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)
Haggai 2:20, KJV: And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying,
This is the fourth and final message from the LORD through Haggai. The message came on the same day as the previous message, or the 24th day of the ninth month,
21 Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;
There was only one person the LORD instructed Haggai to speak to, Zerubbabel, the governor. He had been the recipient of two of the three previous messages (see 1:1 and 2:2).
The first part of this message is a repetition of part of the second message (2:6-7), The LORD says again that He will “shake the heavens and the earth”, but He does not say how He will do this. Most likely this is a promise of action the LORD will take in the future, as nothing like shaking the heavens and earth has happened from that day to this.
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, every one by the sword of his brother.
This is most likely a prophecy of the distant future, almost similar to that in Ezekiel 38-39. The LORD had done some similar things, such as overthrowing the chariots of the Egyptians when Israel crossed the Red Sea but the Egyptians drowned in that sea (Exodus 14). The LORD allowed Israel victory over incredible odds at various times. Examples include Gideon’s 300 soldiers who saw the LORD defeat the Midianites: they lost 120,000 soldiers at that one battle (the story is in Judges 7; total of Midianite casualties is recorded in 8:10). Another example would be the battle in the wilderness of Edom when the Moabites attacked each other (2 Kings 3); still another would be the battle of Judah against a whole lot of people in 2 Chronicles 20—Judah didn’t have to do anything except praise the LORD and He took care of everything!
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.
The last message ends with a promise from the Lord of hosts, In other prophetic books, like Isaiah, the phrase “in that day” usually refers to the future, perhaps when the Kingdom has been established (Daniel 2 and 7, Isaiah 11, etc.) Whether this is a literal promise to Zerubbabel that he would have a special place in the future kingdom is uncertain; on the other hand, God had promised that David would reign as king in the future (examples: Jeremiah 30:9, Ezekiel 34:23-24, 37:25, and Hosea 3:5).
No matter what, the LORD of hosts knew that Zerubbabel had served faithfully and obeyed the word of the LORD, so the LORD could indeed make a promise like this. Our Lord promises rewards for all of the saints who serve Him (1 Corinthians 3) so let’s do like Zerubbabel and serve the LORD faithfully!
Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).