Bible Prophecy Fulfilled: Haggai 2:2-23



Midrashic Triple prophecy of Haggai 2:3-9 as a template to decode the Olivet Discourse:

1.           16th November 520 BC: Haggai 2:3-9: "‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’ “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. ‘I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:3-9)

2.           Dates and timing of the prophecies and construction of the temple:

a.           Jews arrive in Jerusalem to build temple: summer 533 BC (Ezra 2:64)

b.           Temple foundation laid: May 15th to June 12th 532 BC (Ezra 3:8)

c.           12-year work stoppage: 532-520 BC

d.           Haggai 1:1: 29th August 520 BC

e.           “shake heavens and earth, greater glory” Haggai 2:1-9 = 16th November 520 BC

f.            No wall stones are yet laid upon temple foundation: Haggai 2:10-17 = 16th January 519 BC

g.           I will bless you from this day forward: Haggai 2:18-19 = 16th January 519 BC

h.           Zerubbabel chosen to shake heavens and earth: Haggai 2:20-23 = 16th January 519 BC

i.             Temple completed on 12th March 515 BC (Ezra 6:15)

3.           The triple prophecy:

a.           Haggai 2:3-9 is another example of the Midrashic style of prophecy and fulfillment unsettling to modern thinking and expectations but clear to the first century Jew.

b.           Haggai 2:3-9 is 100% fulfilled within a few years after it was written with no hint that it is a Messianic prophecy.

c.           Haggai 2:3-9 is quoted in Hebrews 12:26-29 to have two additional fulfillments first in the founding of the church-Kingdom at Pentecost AD 33, and second, the uncreation of the physical universe at the second coming.

d.           Heb 12:18-29 shows us that we are in the kingdom and heavenly Jerusalem right now: Heb 12:22; Phil 3:20-21; Gal 4:26

e.           We begin with an old testament text wherein we have no clue it has any fulfillment outside the lifetime of Zerubbabel until Paul makes it into a triple prophecy in Hebrews.

f.            This is typical Midrashic style and is useful as a guide in decoding the Olivet Discourse.

4.           Detailed storyline:

a.           In the immediate context, the Jerusalem temple foundations had been laid in 532 BC, but a 12-year work stoppage (532-520) prevented the construction until it began again in 520 BC. It was the same year that construction began again that Haggai penned these words in Haggai 2:6-9. The temple was then completed 515 BC, four years after Haggai finished his prophetic book.

b.           When the Jerusalem temple foundations were laid in 532 BC the elders who were alive to see the temple of Solomon wept because the new temple was smaller and had less glory.

                                                               i.      "They sang, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, “For He is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the [smaller] foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away." (Ezra 3:11–13)

c.           In Haggai 2:6-9, God promised that the glory of the new smaller temple which was under construction in 520 BC, would have “greater glory” than the larger temple of Solomon. Notice God even said in Haggai 2:4 to “take courage NOW”. There was 100% fulfillment of Haggai 2:6-9 in 515 BC!

d.           In Haggai 2:21-23, God promises to use Zerubbabel as the “signet ring” instrument to shake the heavens and the earth in his lifetime!

                                                               i.      16th January 519 BC: “Speak to Zerubbabel governor of Judah, saying, ‘I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. ‘I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders, and the horses and their riders will go down, everyone by the sword of another.’ ‘On that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ ” declares the Lord of hosts." (Haggai 2:21–23)

                                                             ii.      Notice also the shaking of the heaven and earth PRECEEDS the filling of the temple in 515 BC with greater glory.

                                                             iii.      It is clear, that God used Zerubbabel as “His signet ring to defeat the enemies of Israel” who attempted to hinder the construction of the temple in Jerusalem: "Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe and the rest of their colleagues, the judges and the lesser governors, the officials, the secretaries, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is, the Elamites, and the rest of the nations which the great and honorable Osnappar deported and settled in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of the region beyond the River. Now" (Ezra 4:9–10)

                                                           iv.      Although Zerubbabel was a vassal king under Darius I from 520-510 BC, he operated in full autonomy in Judea by defeating the “nations” who opposed the Jews.

e.           The language of Haggai is similar to Jer 52:20 where God promises to use Israel as a weapon of war against Israel’s adversaries:

                                                               i.      Prophecy of destruction of Babylon through Israel in 539 BC: "He says, “You [Israel] are My war-club, My weapon of war; And with you [Israel] I shatter nations, And with you [Israel] I destroy kingdoms. “With you I shatter the horse and his rider, And with you I shatter the chariot and its rider, And with you I shatter man and woman, And with you I shatter old man and youth, And with you I shatter young man and virgin, And with you I shatter the shepherd and his flock, And with you I shatter the farmer and his team, And with you I shatter governors and prefects. “But I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all their evil that they have done in Zion before your eyes,” declares the LORD. “Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, Who destroys the whole earth,” declares the LORD, “And I will stretch out My hand against you, And roll you down from the crags, And I will make you a burnt out mountain." (Jeremiah 51:20–25)

f.            We have fulfillment of the Haggai 2 prophecy in 520 BC, through Zerubbabel whom God used to “shake the heavens and the earth” before the new temple was completed by defeating Israel’s enemies who hindered its construction. Fulfillment was completed through the “greater glory” in the temple when it was completed in 516 BC.

5.           Haggai 2:3-9 was all so neat, clean and simple, until Apostle Paul comes along and finds not one, but two additional fulfilments in Hebrews 12:18-29

a.           Hebrews 12:18-24: Christians have not come to Mt. Sinai when God shook the earth but to the church and heavenly Jerusalem (Mt. Zion).

b.           Note: The Law of Moses was given on Pentecost 1446 BC at Mt. Sinai but the Law of Christ was given at Jerusalem on Pentecost AD 33. Hebrew 12 connects the events at Mt. Sinai in 1446 BC with the founding of the church-kingdom in AD 33. Hebrews 12 does not connect the events at Mt. Sinai in 1446 BC with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

c.           Two voices of Hebrews 12:25:

                                                               i.      Moses was the voice who warns from earth at Mt. Sinai when the law of Moses was given on Pentecost 1446 BC. "Then the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven." (Exodus 20:22)

                                                             ii.      Christ was the voice who warned from heaven on Pentecost AD 33 when the Law of Christ was given.

d.           Hebrews 12:26: First messianic fulfillment: Zerubbabel is an antitype of Christ: God’s voice shook the earth at Mt. Sinai but Haggai 2:3-9 prophesied that God’s voice would shake both heaven and earth at Pentecost AD 33. Paul applies the prophecy of Haggai 2 to the founding of the kingdom of God on Pentecost. "‘I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders, and the horses and their riders will go down, everyone by the sword of another.’ ‘On that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ ” declares the LORD of hosts." (Haggai 2:22–23). It is clear that Paul applies the Haggai 2 prophecy to Christ setting up His kingdom on the Day of Pentecost AD 33.

e.           Hebrews 12:27-28: Second messianic fulfillment: The second coming: After Paul finds complete messianic fulfillment of the Haggai 2 prophecy in Christ on Pentecost AD 33, he then turns Haggai 2 to find a second messianic fulfilment in the distant future. Paul applies Haggai 2 to the second coming of Christ when he will “remove created things” by uncreating the 118 elements of the periodic table. This exactly agrees with what Paul said in Hebrews 1:10–12 where that which Christ created in 5554 BC as per Gen 1:1 will be “perish, be rolled up, and changed”. This is precisely what Apostle John said would happen at the second coming and Great Judgement at the end of time in Rev 20:11 when “heaven and earth fled from His presence and no place was found for them.”

f.            Three fires of Hebrews 12:29: The final statement “our God is a consuming fire” connects fire to Mt. Sinai in 1446 BC, tongues of fire on Pentecost AD 33 and the “flaming fire of destruction” (2 Thess 1:7) at the second coming.

6.           Paul’s Midrashic method of applying Haggai 2:3-9 first to Pentecost AD 33, then the destruction of the physical universe at the second coming provides a perfect template with which to decode the Olivet Discourse.

a.           Jews today never read the New Testament much less study it and are therefore unaware of the Midrashic interpretive style of the Mishna and Talmud is the same as the Christian Bible.

b.           When anti-Christian Jewish Rabbis protest that nothing in the Haggai prophecy can be applied AFTER the temple was finished in 515 BC they are being very unJewish in their criticisms of how Apostle Paul (a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin) applied Haggai 2 to messianic prophecy in Hebrews 12.

c.           The Jews today accuse the New Testament writers of ripping the Haggai prophecy out of its already fully fulfilled context in 515 BC and misapplying it to the future Messianic period.

d.           If Full-Preterists were truly consistent in how they interpret scripture, they would join with the Jews in rejecting Mt 2:23; 2 Sam 7:14; Dan 8:9-14; Isa 7:14 and Haggai 2:6-9 as having any first century application.

7.           This ancient Biblical Midrashic hermeneutic used by Jesus, Matthew, Peter and Paul will now be used to correctly decode the Olivet Discourse and especially Matthew chapters 24-25




 By Steve Rudd 2020: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.


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