We have rounded the last turn and are in the home stretch of this online meditation series built around the Genealogy of Jesus Christ. The last person from the genealogy to be covered in the Old Testament – Zerubbabel – is here, and soon we will be looking at a series of prophecies by his contemporaries, the prophets Haggai, Daniel, and Zechariah.
Some of these prophecies will point towards the first coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who was born about five hundred years after they were written. Others will cover the global events surrounding Christ’s second coming which is yet to occur but could happen within our lifetimes. It is a blessing to be aware of what God has to say about the future.
After these prophecies, we will cover a few final events from the latter days of the Medo-Persian empire and close this study with the short book of Malachi. From here, the word of God in the Old Testament would go silent for another four hundred years until the birth of Christ.
The prophet Haggai joined Governor Zerubbabel and high priest Joshua in returning to and living in Jerusalem near the end of Daniel’s life. God would use Haggai to get the reconstruction of the temple in Jerusalem started again after a long hiatus, and it would be finished a few years later.
God then used Haggai to prophesy far into the future, highlighting the heavenly significance of the new temple. It was not so much the physical building itself, which was of a much humbler nature than the original one built by King Solomon. Instead, it was the fact that there was once again a house of God on earth, built upon the exact spot the Lord had chosen. This spot has eternal significance – it was here where Abraham was directed to bring his only beloved son Isaac to sacrifice to the Lord. God stopped it from happening, providing a ram instead, but perhaps Abraham’s willingness to obey played some unknown role in the Father’s willingness to go forward with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This sacrifice would take place north of the temple altar, as prescribed by the law given to Moses.
As God had told Abraham:
15 The angel of Adonai called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I swear—it is a declaration of Adonai—because you have done this thing, and you did not withhold your son, your only son, 17 I will richly bless you and bountifully multiply your seed like the stars of heaven, and like the sand that is on the seashore, and your seed will possess the gate of his enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed—because you obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22:15-18 (TLV)
All nations on earth are being blessed today by the abundant grace and mercy that flows from the sacrifice of Jesus, the seed of Abraham, given for the forgiveness of sins. In Him, all believers may enjoy eternal life with the Lord.
Christ and His coming kingdom will be a major focus of the prophecies we look at from Medo-Persian times. We will start with the ones the prophet Haggai brought to the returned exiles in Judah.
1 On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of Adonai came through Haggai the prophet: 2 Speak now to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, kohen gadol, and to the remnant of the people:
6 For thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot: “In just a little while I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land, 7 and I will shake all the nations. The treasures of all the nations will come, and I will fill this House with glory,” says Adonai-Tzva’ot. 8 “The silver is mine and the gold is mine!”—it is a declaration of Adonai-Tzva’ot. 9 “The glory of this latter House will be greater than the former,” says Adonai-Tzva’ot. “In this place, I will grant shalom”—it is a declaration of Adonai-Tzva’ot. Haggai 2:1,6-9 (TLV)
kohen gadol – means High Priest.
Adonai-Tzva’ot – means The Lord of Hosts.
shalom – means complete peace and wellness of body, mind, and spirit.
God has big plans for His House in Jerusalem. Like Abraham’s willingness to obey God with Isaac, the temple reconstruction demonstrated a willingness by humans to obey God and to participate in His boundless works and wonders. It will be an amazing journey to experience as we follow the Lord.
If we are willing to take a small step of faith with God, He is willing to take a giant leap for us. Like the boy who brought five loaves and two fishes to Jesus, who then multiplied them to feed over five thousand people, may He do the same with our humble offerings.
Lord, multiply our mustard seeds of faith to allow us to journey with You in awesome wonder. Give us a glimpse behind the heavenly curtain to see how You are so active all around us for the benefit of all people, Your beloved creations. Then help us to join You in your work. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.