- The Shaking Of The Earth (verse 21)
- The Smashing Of Man's Kingdoms (verse 22)
- The Servant Of Jehovah (verse 23)
- The Signet Of God's Choosing (verse 23)
Haggai chapter 2, Haggai chapter 2 - and while you're turning to that passage of Scripture don't forget, you may have seen it on the way in, there's a book stall at the back of the hall, and we're not only near Christmas but we're near the New Year, and it's a custom for many people to begin their Bible readings at the start of a New Year. Now, I'm not saying you have to do that, but a lot of people do it - they find that it's helpful, it's very practical. And what's a good practice is reading the word of God through once in the year - now you don't have to do that if you don't feel that you're capable of doing that. There're some books at the back of the hall and they're for all our abilities: some of them are going through the Bible in a year, the whole Bible; some of them are going through the New Testament; some of them are simply going through one book, or the book of Psalms. There's even those for the boys and girls at the back, daily readings for them that they can do day by day. It's important that no matter how much you read, or how much you pray, that at least once during the day that you do it. So we've bought some of these books for you to look at, and if you want to order some of them please write your name and the quantity of them on the sheet at the door, and we'll be glad to help you.
Haggai chapter 2 and this is our last study in the book of Haggai, and we're beginning at verse 20 of chapter 2. You'll remember that the book of Haggai is split into four sermons or messages that Haggai presented to the nation of Judah as they came out of 70 years captivity in the land of Babylon. We studied the book of Habakkuk - we saw there how God was prophesying that they were about to go into the land of Babylon for those 70 years. But as we see them here in Haggai, Judah has come out of the other end - and here they are and Cyrus has told them that they're allowed now to rebuild their temple, but through discouragements and so forth they stop it. Then, when they're allowed to do it again by Darius the first, they don't have the motivation - and you remember that we looked over the past weeks at the reasons why they were so discouraged in the work of God.
This is the fourth message that we're going to look at today, the fourth sermon that Haggai delivers to the nation of Judah. Verse 20: "And again the word of the Lord came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying", and you'll note that that is the same day as the last sermon that we studied, last Monday evening. So the last two messages in this book of Haggai are presented on the same day: "Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; 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. 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".
Verse 20 tells us that it was the same day on which he had delivered his previous message that he was now delivering his fourth message, it's still the 18th of December 520BC - a bit near today's date. And the Lord speaks, and if you look at verse 20 it says that the Lord spoke again on that day. In other words, Lord had already spoken to Judah on this date, it must have been a great situation for the children of God to be there when God's prophet was bringing God's message by God's messenger - it must have been an awful thing, mustn't it? But to have it twice on the one day, where God was coming in by His Spirit, through His messenger, bringing His message - and twice on the same day was telling these people of Judah what to do. Do you know that God can speak more than once in day? I wonder have you been spoken to by God today where you are, where you sit? Have you been around God's word? Have you been in the place of prayer? Have you been seeking His face? Have you been in communion with Him? Is your face glowing, like Moses, because you've been in the presence of God and God has spoken to you?
If you've been reading the word of God today, you must have been sure that God has been speaking to you. But I wonder, over the past weeks and even months, from September that we've begun these studies in the minor prophets, and as we have majored in on them, the book of Habakkuk, the book of Haggai - small books, three chapters and two chapters long, we've only looked at five chapters - but as we've looked into the depths and the gems and the mines of the word of God and the challenge, I wonder has God been speaking to you? Could it be that week after week God has been speaking, God has been unveiling things, God has been convicting things in your life - perhaps God has been encouraging in places where you have been discouraged or downtrodden? But no matter what it is - an exhortation, an encouragement, or a rebuke - God has been speaking! My question is this: does God need to speak again?
You see God needed to speak again, a second time on the same day, to these people. And we learnt last week that it was alright for these Judeans to hear the word of God, we saw from chapter 1 and verse 14, if you look at it, that they didn't just hear or read the word of God - but it says that their bones were stirred by the word of God! They were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they were motivated by the Holy Spirit, to put a brick upon a brick on the foundation of the temple and to begin rebuilding, to start the work of God again. But we saw last week, didn't we, that that wasn't enough. Why was it not enough? They were stirred by the word of God, and we could have been stirred by the word of God. They maybe realised their state before God, as they did, and it made them fear - they began to do the things that they weren't doing, and maybe that's what you have been doing in the past weeks as God has pinpointed, put His finger right on the red spot in your life - maybe you have decided: 'I'm going to have to do something about this!'. They looked to the sky, didn't they? And there was no rain. They looked to the ground, didn't they? But there was no crops. And no matter how much they obeyed the word of God, or were moved by the word of God, nothing was happening! And God had to come in, nearly at the end of this letter by Haggai, and say this: 'The reason why nothing is happening is because you haven't confessed your sin'.
Now, here we are again, and the second time on the same day God is coming - and you notice in verse 20 and verse 21 that God's message is now not delivered to the whole nation of Judah. Look at verse 21, God says: 'Speak to Zerubbabel'. Now, who was Zerubbabel? If you remember, we noted that in verse 14 of chapter 1 that both Zerubbabel and Joshua were stirred by the word of God. Joshua was the head of their religious, ecclesiastical system in Judah - he was the high priest - but Zerubbabel was the civil, political leader within the nation. Therefore in verse 21 we see that this fourth message was directed specifically to Zerubbabel - why? Zerubbabel needed encouragement, he needed special encouragement from the Lord. And you know, sometimes we preach the word of God, or sometimes we read the Bible and we read it in a general way - in other words, we read this little book of Haggai as being to the Judeans, then we go on to the gospel of Matthew and read it as being to the Jews, Mark to the Greeks and so on, the book of Romans to the Romans, Corinthians to the Corinthians - but there are times in our lives when we need to come to the word of God and we need to see it as God's word to us! Do you know that? What does the children's chorus say? 'Every promise in the book is mine. Every letter, every word, every line' - it's all for me, the word of God! And when you're in need, and if you're in need this evening, more than ever: get into the word of God, for everything in it's for you!
Zerubbabel was so discouraged, he was so downhearted - as many of the leaders within the work of God are, and you know and I know that Satan often attacks the leaders of God's people to get at the rest of them. That's why, in the book of 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 and verse 25, the great apostle turned - remember who he was, perhaps the greatest Christian that ever lived - and he turned to these believers, half his spiritual stature, and he said: 'Brethren, pray for us!'. Do you pray for me? I thank those that pray for me because I feel the benefit of it. Do you pray for the oversight and the deacons? Do you pray for the Sunday School teachers, those that go round the doors, the choirs, everything - even the musicians - do you pray for the people that are in the work of God? Because the people that are on the front line are the first to be hit!
I don't know what the circumstances for Zerubbabel were like, but I tend to speculate that perhaps, where Zerubbabel was at this moment, he saw around him this - here was the little nation of Judah, just come out of captivity, absolutely discouraged, absolutely drained of all political, religious worth and strength - and he's standing there looking around at it, and all the nations and the empires, the Medo-Persian Empire, the rising empires, the great nations that were built like a wall around Judah - and perhaps as he saw all this, although he was in his emancipation and his freedom, perhaps he was beginning to despair and feared for the future remnant of the Jews, the people of God. What was going to happen to them? They had been downtrodden for 70 years in Babylon, they'd got out, they were given permission to build the temple - they were discouraged by the Samaritans, it was put off for 16 years - then they were given permission again, but they were so downtrodden and the stuffing was knocked out of them that they couldn't lay a finger on that temple. And Zerubbabel's standing there, the head of this motley crew, looking around at them, looking around at those that are pressing against him from the other nations - and he looks to heaven, and perhaps he despairs at the circumstances around him!
Circumstances have the tendency to discourage, don't they? I don't know where you are, but the Holy Ghost knows where you are - and your circumstance at this moment of time, like Zerubbabel, is despairing. You don't know where to turn to, those that are nearest and dearest to you, like those for Zerubbabel, the Judeans, were past themselves. Your enemies are against you, everything is against you, the heaven is brass, the ground is dust, there is nowhere to turn to - it is desperate! This can be the case, especially when you're trying to build God's work. What do you need when that happens? Do you know what you need? Do you know what you need? You need what God gave Zerubbabel in His fourth message, you need encouraged! And God came beside Zerubbabel and He brought this great message to encourage the governor's faith by the faith of God - why? Because unbelief always stops and robs us of God's blessing! Have you got that?
You see, if Zerubbabel was to be blessed he had to be encouraged to get out of unbelief. It was no good battering him with a rod and telling him to believe, he had to be encouraged to believe! And when you're in the midst of despair, and maybe in the midst of sin, or discouragement, or failure, or bereavement or whatever it may be - and everything seems to be falling around you - it's no good beating you, it's better to encourage you, through the word of God, to have faith in God! I wonder, in this Christian age that we live in, are we unbelieving believers? Are we? Do you know what unbelief is? Unbelief doubts God's word, in fact unbelief calls God a liar. And worse than calling God a liar, it actually makes Him perjurous, it identifies God as a perjurer - because not only are you saying that His word is not believable, but His very oath is not believable.
What is faith? Faith unlocks the divine storehouse of God. Faith breaks us into the cheque book of all God's riches in the word of God - but unbelief is what bars it from every child of God. Someone has said that the church has halted somewhere between Calvary and Pentecost. Is that true? Remember the church, an embryo, as they were discouraged after the crucifixion, and the Lord Jesus Christ was in the grave - you remember that? Have we got stuck somewhere there in discouragement, in failure, in unbelief - and we haven't walked in, like the Hebrews, into the land of Canaan and promise, where the Spirit of God, in all His blessing, falls and ignites? Are we unbelieving believers?
Now we need to make a distinction here this evening, because there is natural faith and there is spiritual, or supernatural faith. You see, most men and women have natural faith. Sometimes when you hear some illustrations in gospel preaching about faith, it's no more faith - God's faith - than flying in the air! You see there is natural faith, that's the faith that you have in your pew, that it doesn't cave in and that you fall in. That's the faith that men have had when they've had a vision of the telephone, or electricity, or the plane, or whatever it may be - and they followed their vision, they had faith in their vision and they accomplished it: that's natural faith. But this, this faith that the word of God speaks of is spiritual, supernatural faith. It is nothing to do with man, it is a gift given by God, because man in his sinful state cannot muster it up. It's something that gets, not just into your intellect and your mind, but it gets into your will, it sets into your heart and it holds onto your affections. This is something that sets you on fire. This is something that is buried deep within your being as a spiritual entity. This is something that you cannot define - it is something that God gives by His Spirit!
God loves to be trusted, do you know that? God just wants to be trusted. You remember that we ended last Monday evening in that verse in Malachi: 'Prove me now saith the Lord'. Now that's from a position of faith, it's not some sceptic or atheist coming along and saying: 'Right, I'm going to see if there is a real God here!' - that's not what He's saying, He's talking to believers, wanting to be proven that He is a God who He says He is, that His word is true, that His promises are watertight! Do we prove God? The Lord Jesus Christ hated unbelief. Do you remember the occasion of Jairus' daughter? A brother was illustrating to me not so long ago how that man came, wanting his daughter to be healed. He knew that she was dying and he came to the Lord Jesus, and you remember that the Lord Jesus Christ went to heal the woman with the issue of blood. And in the interim, when He was away doing that, the little girl passed away into eternity. And as that man, that father, with the tears running down his face was imploring Christ that He would come and, as far as he was concerned, Christ wasn't a bit interested! Someone came up to him and tapped him on the shoulder and said: 'Trouble the Master no more, the girl's dead'. And the Lord went with that man to that house, and you remember the scene - what happened was that: they walked in and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is, and was, and always shall be the author of life stood and said: 'She sleepeth'. What did they do? They were standing around and they were laughing, they were laughing, they were scorning Him: 'Who does He think He is? Saying that that little child is [sleeping] - does He not know what a dead body is?'. What did He do? It says He put them out, He put them out! Why? Because Christ puts out unbelief!
Has the Lord Jesus Christ put out unbelief in your life? Do you know what discourages me more than anything? Christians who will not believe the word of God, and an unbelief within me of the word of God. You see people that pour cold water - you know when you're on a mountain top and you're rejoicing in the Lord, and you've got a promise or something, and the Lord's blessing - and they come along and they say: 'Well, don't get too fanatical you know!'. And they burst your bubble, and you could burst their nose! You know what it's like - unbelief! People who will not believe God, and because they can't believe God they don't want anybody else believing God!
'Oh, for a faith that will not shrink,
Though pressed by many a foe.
That will not tremble on the brink
Of poverty or woe'.
We've heard it over and over again, from Habakkuk, from Haggai: without faith it is impossible to please God! If you want to follow our God you need faith. If you want to please our God and you don't have faith, well, you're going to have to please another God because our God is the God who has to pleased by faith! And if you're child of God this must be, I believe, one of the most liberating experiences in the life of the child of God: to realise that our God can be trusted! To realise that the promises of God are for you and me, and I can live experientially in the light of their reality! Has that light ever dawned on your life?
I read the story today - I love reading Leonard Ravenhill, and I would recommend his books to you, but his father was a man who was not a great preacher or anything like that but he realised his ministry for God, and he went to the hospitals day by day and was an evangelist just around the hospitals talking to men and women, some were dying, some were ill, boys and girls, about the Saviour. He led hundreds to Christ through that ministry. He was especially good at witnessing to Roman Catholics because he was a Roman Catholic before the Lord saved him. One day he was talking to a man and the man turned round to him, and the man objected and said: 'I've prayed to God and God didn't hear me!'. And Ravenhill's father turned to him and said: 'Now, look, if the King of England were to come into this room right now and I was to sit on this bed, and I was to ask him for a five pound note. Because I'm a subject of this nation, do you think he would give it to me?'. The man said: 'Well, I don't think he'd give it to you'. And then Ravenhill's father went on to say: 'Well, what about if the Prince of Wales came into this little room and asked for a five pound note from the King?'. He said: 'Of course, he would give it to him, for that's his father - he's his son!'. Ravenhill turned to that man said: 'Yes, that's it isn't it? It's all to do with relationship'. Child of God today, whatever you're going through, whatever you feel your deficiency is in Christ or your spiritual life - whatever it is, realise the wealth that you have in Christ, the unlimited access to unlimited wealth that we have in the Lord Jesus! We have everything, for we have Christ. It's not like Old Mother Hubbard and there's nothing in the cupboard, but there's a cupboard there and all it takes is the arm of faith to reach up. That's what the book of Hebrews is about: reaching up to the cupboard and opening up and taking by faith and boldness what is our right in Christ.
This was Haggai's message to Zerubbabel: 'Have faith in your God!'. Because one: He is going to shake the earth, verse 21. The first point: He will shake the earth. What was Zerubbabel worried about? He was worried about his enemies, he was worried about everything going wrong again - sure they were only out of captivity! And maybe you're here and you're a compulsive worrier, and you're only out of the valley - you're only out of captivity - and you're worrying about the next one that hasn't come along yet. He's standing there and God says: 'Look, have faith in Me, because I'm going to shake the earth', look at verse 20, 'I will shake the heavens and the earth...I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms...I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen'. God was telling this man, encouraging Zerubbabel: 'Don't be afraid, one of these days I'm going to bring an earthquake on the earth' - and what that's speaking of is a divine judgement that was ordained of God that one day will come and will be poured on all the nations, and they will suffer - as verse 22 says - the overflow of God's anger. Can you visualise it? The Bible talks about a cup of iniquity, it talks about the cup of the wrath of God and it's being filled up by the sins of men. And I believe today, where we are at this moment, perhaps in your personal life, men sinning against you, inflicting, opposing you - it's filling up by the second, and one day when it's full to overflowing, God's wrath will overflow the cup and hit the enemy. What must that have meant for Zerubbabel?
And God's alluding in verse 21, I believe, to Sodom and Gomorrah, saying: 'I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen'. Turn with me to Genesis chapter 19, and we see here the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and we can't go into it in too much detail, but you know what happened: they were defiling themselves, men with men. But you know, that was not the primary sin of Sodom - if you search the word of God you'll find out that the primary sin was pride. But if you look at chapter 19 and verse 23 and 24 you see that: 'The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven' - why did He do that? 'Sure, that's an impatient God, isn't it?', that's what the world says, 'That's some God that would send people into such a thing as that. What kind of a God is that, a God of love?'. Look at chapter 18 and verse 20: 'And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous' - God was punishing their sin! Their cup of iniquity, His cup of wrath, was overflowing! It's like today, isn't it? It's overflowing and it's not going to be long until God's going to come in. And God's going to shake the earth - as verse 22 says, of Haggai 2 - in a way that He has never ever done before, and God help anyone who's left down here to face it!
Do you know what that tells me? Sin either ends up on the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary, or you'll have to pay for it in hell. Do you understand that? Christ either bears your sin away on the cross, you have faith in His cross, and you'll never face hell - but sin has to be dealt with, one way or another. Friend this evening, how has your sin been dealt with? Are you sure that your sin has been nailed to Christ on the cross? Are you positive? Because if you're not 100% sure, I'm almost sure that you will pay for that in hell!
In verse 22 I think Haggai is alluding, not this time to Sodom and Gomorrah, but he's talking about the exodus from Egypt: 'And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen', here it is here, 'and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them' - you remember? Do you remember? That those people - they were armed to the teeth, God's people hadn't a weapon, but they had their God! They were coming out of Egypt and they stood - and maybe it's like you this evening - they're standing at the Red Sea and you can't go forward; you turn around and the armies of Egypt are behind you, you can't go back; you can't go right, you can't go left, you can't go up, you can't go down - and it seems impossible! But God says: 'My child, I will make a way for you'. And God came - do you know what it says? - that: '...there remained', Exodus 14, ' not so much as one of them left'. God shook the earth, and He's going to shake it again.
But secondly, there was the smashing of the kingdoms that we read about in verse 22. After we read about the overthrow of the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah, and then we look at the chariots that were overthrown and those that rode in them: '...and their riders shall come down', every one will be destroyed that means, 'by the sword of his brother'. Do you know what God did in the Old Testament times? God is a supernatural God - now here's a lesson: the people in the armies of Judah and Israel, they didn't stand back at the sidelines and ask God to come in and defeat the enemy. They had to lift up their sword, they had to lift up their armour and their shield, they had to start to run, they had to flex their muscles, they had to breathe and fight, they had to be energetic, they had to put everything that they had into the battle! But at the same time they trusted the Lord, and they had a supernatural Lord. And that's what we've got to do today, we can't sit back in our circumstances, or in the Lord's work, and hope that the Lord's just going to come in and make everything alright right away, supernaturally, if we are not prepared to do what we can do!
In the Old Testament God used to come into the battles, do you know what He used to do? He used to confound the enemy, He confused the enemies - so much so that we read about it in verse 22, at the end of the verse, that each brother - the enemy - actually turned on themselves their swords and killed one another! And the Judeans, the Israelis, had the victory...not by their own hand, but by God's hand. Friends this evening, if we're going to have the victory in the work of God, or the victory of faith in our lives, it'll not be by our own hand. And I've learned more than ever, even today looking into the word of God and being before God, can I share personally that God has been reminding me that: 'You'll never do anything by your hand'. You've got to put everything that you've got into it, but at the end of the day it will be God that will be bringing the victory - isn't that right? That's what the word of God teaches.
Now, look at this: there's a day coming - and the word of God testifies, you can read about it in Ezekiel - that this will happen again, and just like in the story of Gideon when the Midianites were confounded - you can read about it in Judges 7 - and they turned one another to another and killed each other, that will happen in the future! When the nations are surrounding Israel, God will come and confound them - but let me say personally to you this evening: what are the enemies in your life? Is it sin? Is it illness? Is it poverty? Is it discouragement? Is it sorrow? Whatever it may be, they are all our enemies, some of them we've brought upon ourselves, some of them we could never have brought upon ourselves! But no matter what they are, the secret is this: if we surrender our all to God in the battle, He'll have the victory! Do you believe that? Because if you don't believe it, you'll never have the victory. You've got to believe it!
You know, there's a day coming - and we read about it in Daniel chapter 2, you can turn with me if you wish, Daniel chapter 2 and verse 44, and it tells us on a wider scale that God's going to smash man's kingdoms. Daniel 2 and verse 44: 'And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever'! Imagine that! Statistics tell us that the average nation in our history of our world has only lasted for 250 to 300 years. But this kingdom - the Lord Jesus Christ is going to be the rock cut out of that great gulf, and He's going to be thrown at the kingdoms of the world and smash them - He's going to have the victory! He will establish His kingdom, and of His kingdom and His government and His rule there shall be no end!
Do we not read about it in Psalm 2? Of course we do, turn with me to Psalm 2 quickly, we read about it here in verse 1: 'Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh' - hallelujah! They're all laughing today, but He will laugh! 'The Lord shall have them in derision' - He'll put them into confusion - 'Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession'. Boy, there's a day coming when every knee will bow - no matter what religion, or what filthy god they bow down to - they're going to bow down to my Lord. They're going to worship Him, but it's too late for them to be saved - but their tongue will confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father! And Jesus shall reign where'er the sun doth it's successive journeys run, and His kingdom will stretch from shore to shore 'til moons shall wax and wane no more.
In the French Revolution, there were three revolutions, there were three republics - and of course Republicans don't like to have royalty, and there's the Royalists and there's the Republicans in every country. And the Royalists were absolutely discouraged at the fact that this third republic, the republic that there is now in France, had come to pass. They wrote in the local newspaper and at the end of their whole article they went into all the intricacies of whether it was better to have a monarch or better to have a president - and this was their deciding factor, they said this: 'The King's absence has been cruelly felt'. It's true, isn't it? The absence of the King of kings is felt now, it's felt in a world that is full of birth pangs and is ready to give birth to the wrath of God. It's in your life, you can feel the absence of Christ, although you have Him by His Spirit in your spirit. But there is a day coming when He will reign!
But thirdly, to encourage Zerubbabel - and I'm gradually seeing what my message is maybe going to be next week, because I'm not going to get through this! But the third message that was given by Haggai was that He had provided a servant, the servant of Jehovah. Look at verse 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', or a signet ring, 'for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts'. Now notice it says: 'this day' - does it say 'this day'? It says: 'that day'. Now what the Holy Spirit is speaking of here is a future day, God is telling them of a time to come - it didn't happen in their history, it didn't happen in the immediate history - it was a future day that the Bible tells of, that all the prophets speak of, a day when Christ would reign with His royal authority upon the earth. Now the question is this: why does God address Zerubbabel? And why, indeed, does God refer to Zerubbabel, if it's got nothing to do specifically with Zerubbabel - because he would have died before any of this would have come to pass? So how could God be saying to [him]: 'I'll take you, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and make thee a signet'?
Now we need to understand this, and this is important that we do understand. I want you to notice that throughout this whole book, if you look at chapter 1 and verse 1, you see that the first instance that we find Zerubbabel we see that the message came on '...the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah'. What's he called there? 'Governor of Judah'. Go to verse 14, you remember that they're all stirred, they're all moved by the word of God, what's he called there? 'Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah'. Chapter 2 and verse 2, again: 'Governor of Judah'. Chapter 2 verse 21 that we've already read: 'Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah'. Now, what's he called in verse 25? 'Zerubbabel, my servant' - why the change? If you look throughout the Old Testament you find this: God says 'My servant David' - have you noticed that? And then He says 'My servant Israel', not the person but the nation, 'My servant Israel'. But turn with me for a moment to Isaiah 52 - and I know we're turning to a lot of passages here, but this is a Bible study and we have to learn where these things come from. Isaiah 52 and verse 13, look at this: 'Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider'.
You know, anyone that's called the servant of God within the word of God is a type, is a picture, of the Messiah of God. The Christ of God is the servant of God, look at the whole book of Isaiah! The suffering servant, the suffering Christ - our Saviour and Lord! What does he say? 'Zerubbabel my servant'. You might say: 'Now, David hold on a minute! That's a bit far-fetched, are you trying to say that the Lord is talking about the Lord Jesus Christ? If there was a Jew in the meeting maybe you wouldn't get away with that!'. Turn with me for a moment to Matthew chapter 1 - there is the Jew in the meeting, but I hope I will get away with it! But Matthew chapter 1, and we have the genealogy here of the Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew chapter 1 - now look at this, verse 12. Now you must note: Elijah is called, in the New Testament in the Authorised Version, 'Elias', because that is the Greek trans-literation, it's taken directly from the Greek - it's not spelt the way Elijah is in the Old Testament but it's the same person, it means 'Elijah'. And here, in Matthew chapter 1 and verse 12, it's talking about where the Lord Jesus Christ, humanly speaking came from by the flesh: 'And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel', now that looks a bit familiar, 'and Salathiel begat Zorobabel' - Zerubbabel! - 'And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor' - what is it? Now look at Haggai again, Haggai [chapter 2] verse 23: 'In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant' - not Zerubbabel the governor, but Zerubbabel my servant - 'the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord'.
What the Holy Spirit is getting at in this verse is not a personal fulfilment by Zerubbabel, but a positional fulfilment in his line, his lineage. Zerubbabel was the son of David, not a direct son but he was in the line of David, and you know as well as I do that Messiah came in the line of David. Therefore Messiah came in the line of Zerubbabel, and God is saying here: 'Look O Judah! One day I'm going to bring out of Zerubbabel's loins, humanly speaking, the Lord Jesus Christ, Messiah, the Son of God, the Deliverer, My suffering Servant! Hallelujah! It's all beautiful, isn't it? All the word of God fitting together, it's beautiful. If you look at Luke chapter 1, and we'll be reading it at Christmas, Luke chapter 1 and then verse 32, verse 31 says: 'And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end'.
I wonder could we go on just for a few moments? The fourth message was perhaps the most beautiful, the signet of God's choosing in verse 23 of Haggai, God says: 'I will 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'. Now, what was a signet? It's a signet ring, if you look into the Old Testament you find that it was used in three ways, first of all it was used as a personal signature of a person, a stamp for their name. Then, secondly you find it was something that was used in the palace and in the courts to validate royal authority within a sealed document. And then thirdly, it was used as a guarantee to fulfil a future promise that had been written. But here's the key: the signet always represented the owner - have you got it? Who's talking about a signet here? God. And God saying: 'I'm going to make you Zerubbabel' - not 'you' Zerubbabel, but your seed, 'My servant's going to be My signet! He's going to be My personal stamp, the express image of My person, He's going to seal everything I say - everything in Him is Yea and Amen'! Hallelujah! Princes would sign their edict and stamp it, grant commissions with their signet - but Christ, the Son of God, in His own indelible ink of His own blood signed the great charter of eternal salvation and the Gospel! And everything's secured in that signet, isn't it?
Every man that was given authority or responsibility, they messed it up - you know that? There was Noah, found grace in the eyes of the Lord, he got on the Ark and as soon as he got off it he got drunk. David, a man after God's own heart, found in a bed with a married woman and then murdered her husband. Adam, our father in the beginning, what did he do? He was made responsible over the whole universe, but he couldn't take it! You know, if we had time I'd love to go into this, but Jeremiah 22 and verse 24 - we find there a man who was the ancestor, in fact the grandfather of Zerubbabel. Look at it when you get home - he went into captivity in Babylon because of his own sinfulness, but out of the same seed and from the same generation Zerubbabel, whose name means 'seed of Babylon', was coming out in salvation! And we were damned, all of us, in Adam - we were on our way to hell in Adam - but the last Adam has come: Christ! And He's saved us out of it.
Praise His holy name. And He says: 'I have chosen you' - and believer today, God has chosen you saith the Lord of hosts. This is what is so beautiful: 'Jehovah-Tsebahoth', the Lord of hosts - that means the Lord of warriors, it's mentioned 14 times in this little book, telling us - telling you in your problem, in your sin, downcast - telling you: God is a warrior that will fight for you! God will deliver you, God will save you. Winston Churchill said the one thing we have learned from history is that we don't learn from history - isn't that right? I hope that in these past weeks that we have learnt from the history of the children of God, and that we have learnt this one fact - listen: if you give your all to Christ, He will give all that He has to you.
Our Father in heaven, we look around the world and even in our lives and we see that the imprint of the god of this world is all over it. But Lord, we as Thy children look forward to a day when the imprint of the signet of Jehovah-Tsebahoth will be imprinted for all to see. But Lord, imprint it upon our lives so that they may see it before it's too late. Lord, breathe Thy holy fire into our hearts, whatever our need may be today, and most of all: Lord, nearer, draw us nearer to Thyself. For Christ's sake, Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the fourth tape in his Haggai series, titled "His Day Will Come" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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