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The final words of the Book of Haggai are:

The word of the Lord came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, “Speak to Zerub′babel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders; and the horses and their riders shall go down, every one by the sword of his fellow. On that day, says the Lord of hosts, I will take you, O Zerub′babel my servant, the son of She-al′ti-el, says the Lord, and make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts.”

The reference to being chosen as God's "signet ring" at least evokes a sense that the prophet predicted a restoration of royal authority approved by God (see Jeremiah 22:24). Zerubbabel was a descendant of King David and the grandson of one of Judah's last kings. Given his lineage and the powerful words of promise above, is Haggai expressing a messianic hope in Zerubbabel? (Note: I mean this in the sense of the Jewish messiah, who restores the throne of David, not the Christian sense, in which the messiah dies for the sins of mankind.)

Related questions: whether or not this is a messianic prophecy, why does it seem it was not fulfilled. Were there events in Zerubbabel's time that fulfilled the prophecy? In what sense did he become God's "signet ring?"

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  • Unless you're asking for a specific Christian perspective on this passage, I think this question is better suited for the Biblical Hermeneutics site.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Oct 4, 2022 at 20:15
  • I wouldn't mind seeing the question migrated to BH if the moderators there will accept it. I worry that it might be rejected as opinion-based, whereas this site has a broader range in terms of allowing interpretation. I note that other questions here have dealt with Jewish understanding of the scripture. see what kind of Elijah did the Jews expect for example. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 0:45
  • that's actually a good example of what needs to be done to bring this question on topic. It wasn't closed (or migrated, not that we could have migrated it back then) because Mike made it specific to a Evangelical viewpoint.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 0:47
  • Would you like to attempt an edit? I'm not sure what would satisfy your objection. However I don't think the question should represent an "Evangelical viewpoint" per se. I don't mind if it is tweak to fit within the general scope of Christianity. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 1:26
  • that's the one thing that we can't really do for people asking questions. We painstakingly try to avoid "general Christianity" questions here because very little is truly viewpoint neutral, especially when one considers that certain churches teach their adherents to only accept their interpretation of the Bible; you wind up with identical (or divergent and equally true) answers appealing to different faith traditions within Christianity. I don't mean to beat a dead horse, if no one else is going to give you any grief on the question I'll leave it alone
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 14:06

1 Answer 1

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No. He gives us another piece of the mosaic of the Messiah. I see the end of Haggai 2 as the official reversing of the curse of Jeconiah from Jeremiah 22 (particularly verses 24 & 30). The unofficial one is shown in 2 Kings 25:27-30 where Jehoiachin is described as second Joseph. That is why Matthew 1 includes both Jechonias and Zorobabel as ancestors of Jesus.

Yes, Zerubbabel was a type/shadow of the Messiah. He rebuilt the temple. Just like Jesus after him (John 2:19-21).

As for your comment: "I mean this in the sense of the Jewish messiah, who restores the throne of David, not the Christian sense, in which the messiah dies for the sins of mankind."

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, every one by the sword of his brother. 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.

In those three verses, you have a nice blend of ideas taken from other prophets:

  • the day of the LORD ("I will shake the heavens and the earth" from Joel 3),
  • the second exodus (from death to everlasting life) ("I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down" from Exodus 15),
  • victory against all odds given by God ("every one by the sword of his brother" from Judges 7) [the Messiah as a cake of barley (HaBikkurim) and the hidden light in a clay jug (incarnation) that is released after the vessel is broken],
  • suffering servant ("my servant" from Isaiah 52&53).

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