- Locate the passage
This is Haggai’s fourth message. It is also delivered on December 18, 520 BC, three months after the work on the temple had begun.
Prophetic oracle of salvation that is both messianic and apocalyptic
- Determine the structure of the passage
(v. 20) Narrative setting and introduction
(v. 21-22) God promises to shake the heavens, the earth, kingdoms, nations, chariots, horses, and their riders
(v. 23-24) God promises to make Zerubbabel like signet ring
- Exegete the passage
This message is exclusively addressed to Zerubbabel. Here God tells Zerubbabel that He will one day overthrow all earthly powers and authority in order to establish His divine authority.
Simultaneously, God tells Zerubbabel that He will make him like a signet ring. A signet ring was one of the objects of eastern monarchs that symbolized their authority. Therefore, this is a promise from God to Zerubbabel regarding the restoration of rule and authority. With the exile God had in a way temporarily removed the signet ring of His blessing and authority from the line of David (Jer. 22:24-27). Zerubbabel is in the line of David and has now led the people to respond in obedience to God. As a result, God speaks directly to Zerubbabel letting him know that He will one day restore the throne of David to which Zerubbabel is tied.
The tone of this promise is messianic and apocalyptic. It hints at the last day and implies messianic fulfilment by referring to Zerubbabel as “my servant”—the prophet Isaiah’s favorite designation for the Messiah. Therefore, to and through Zerubbabel God renews His promise of redemption, His coming kingdom, and the new heaven and new earth.
- Let the structure of the text drive the sermon
I. Narrative intro and set-up (v. 20)
II. God reveals to Zerubbabel that He will one day overthrow all earthly authority (v. 21-22)
III. God promises Zerubbabel that on that day He will restore the authority of the line of David (v. 23)