THE THIRD ELIJAHBack to Alphabetical Index | Back to Chapter Index
One of the major prophecies concerning the end of the age just before the return of Jesus Christ concerns the coming of the third Elijah. Although most Bible students have read about the prophet Elijah, the office of Elijah, and the prophetic coming of Elijah, few understand that he plays a significant role in preaching the gospel.
There are three basic theories as to who the third Elijah will be:
1. Elijah will be a prophet selected from among the elect of God to proclaim the gospel message and perform a work similar to the work of the original Elijah.
2. Elijah is an office, which will be the collective work of the congregations of God who will proclaim the gospel message.
3. The ancient prophet Elijah will be resurrected by God to proclaim the coming of the Messiah.
Because both the first and second Elijah were real people who did an individual work, it seems unlikely that this precedent would be changed. And because there are no examples in the Bible of a prophet of ancient Israel being brought back from the dead to begin a public ministry, it is also unlikely that this precedent would change. Therefore, in this study, we will concentrate on the possibility of the third Elijah being a real person who is selected by God for a special task right before Christ's return.
Along with a strong warning for all Israelites to repent, return to God, and begin to worship him in truth, the prophet Malachi was inspired to record many major events that would occur just prior to Christ's return, one of which was the sending of a messenger to prepare the way for this return:
"See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness" (Mal.3:1-3 NIV).
Malachi's prophecy contains information about when and how Christ will return. When the messenger has completed his task, Jesus Christ will come very quickly to his temple. Because he will come to his temple, it should be clear that the sending of the third Elijah depends on the events right before and during the existence of a temple in Jerusalem for the worship of the true God. Moreover, Jesus will return as a refiner of metal, which means he will come with great power and wrath to purge his people and the earth of evil before establishing his Father's government and worship system in Jerusalem:
"Behold I am sending you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction" (Mal.4:5-6 Para.).
We are not told how long before the day of the Lord that this Elijah will be sent, or how long his ministry will last. We are only told that he will be sent before this time, and that he is charged with preaching a message of repentance and restoration of the faith once delivered. He is sent to preach this message in order to convince people to return to God, so that God will not completely destroy the earth.
There can be no doubt that the third Elijah has an extremely important responsibility and mission concerning the return of Christ and the survival of humanity. Clearly, the third Elijah is the messenger who is sent to prepare the way for Christ's return and perform a great spiritual work of the restoration of truth.
THE FIRST TWO ELIJAHS
In order to recognize the third Elijah and understand the impact that he will have upon the Jews, the ten tribes of Israel, and the world's inhabitants, it is necessary to review the lives and ministries of Elijah the Tishbite and Elijah in the person of John the Baptist.
THE FIRST ELIJAH
The first Elijah was a prophet to the house of Israel during the reigns of King Ahab (874-854 B.C.), his son Ahaziah (853-852 B.C.), and the beginning of Joram's reign in 852 B.C. He was also a prophet to the house of Judah sometime after 848 B.C:
"And Elijah the Tishbite, and inhabitant of Gilead, said to Ahab, As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in these years, except at my word" (1.Kgs.17:1 Para.).
Elijah is one of the most dynamic men in the entire Bible, yet in this first mention of him, he is merely introduced as Elijah the Tishbite, an inhabitant of Gilead. As a Tishbite he was from Tishbe, a village in Gilead east of the Jordan River, which was the area originally given to Gad and the half-tribe of Manesseh. This is all of the background information that is given about the original Elijah.
The scriptures do not tell us any thing about Elijah's lineage or his bloodline, or if he was even an Israelite. However, it seems logical that he was an Israelite because of the importance of his mission to Israel and the negative attitude of Israelites toward non-Israelites at that time.
Elijah Punishes Israel
"After a long time, in the third year [third year of drought], the word of the Lord came to Elijah: "Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land." So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria" (1.Kgs.18:1-2 NIV).
Three years after Elijah had caused a drought to come upon Israel, God sends him to tell king Ahab to repent. Because it was no secret who had caused the drought and why he had caused it, one would think that Ahab would have known that his actions were not acceptable to God, and that God was punishing him because he was allowing Israel to become paganized. However, the first thing Ahab does is accuse Elijah of being a troublemaker:
"So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?" "I have not made trouble for Israel," Elijah replied. "But you and your father's family have. You have abandoned the Lord's commands and have followed the Baals" (1.Kgs.18:16-18 NIV).
Elijah tells Ahab that his departure from the ways of God is the reason for the drought and famine. Here, we see Elijah bringing a very direct and forthright message to the civil leader of Israel concerning his and Israel's sins before God and the subsequent punishment for their wicked and rebellious behavior.
Ancient Israel and its leaders had a proclivity to forget God's laws, precepts, and principles and to accept and worship false gods. Today, the same situation exists among the Israelitish peoples; they have forgotten their God and are steeped in many different worship systems that are in opposition to God the Father and Jesus Christ.
"Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, [850 pagan prophets and priests] who eat at Jezebel's table" (1.Kgs.18:19 Para.).
God's Instrument Against Evil
At Mount Carmel, with Ahab and 850 pagan prophets and priests present, Elijah tells them to prepare a sacrifice and ask their gods to show that they are true by consuming the sacrifice. After many hours of incantations, crying, yelling, leaping, dancing, and cutting their flesh in order to get their gods to respond, nothing happened to their sacrifices.
When it was evident that the pagan prophets and priests had failed to summon their gods, Elijah prepared a simple rock altar, placed the wood and bullock on it, and had four barrels of water poured on the whole thing. After all of this preparation, Elijah asked God to show these people that he was the true God and that he had sent him to say and do the things that he did:
"And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the sacrifice, that Elijah came near and said, Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me; and this people shall know that you are the Lord God, and that you shall turn their hearts back again. And fire fell from the Lord God and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones and the dust, and the water that was in the trench was licked up by it. And the people saw, and fell on their faces, and said, The Lord, he is God! the Lord he is God!" (1.Kgs.18:36-39 Para.).
With a demonstration of great power, God showed his acceptance of Elijah's offering and that, when Elijah asked something of him, he would take action to fulfill his request. Elijah had a tremendous amount of authority and power from God, which he could use at his discretion for the purpose of turning the Israelites away from evil and toward righteousness.
"Then Elijah commanded them, "Seize the prophets of Baal [all these religious leaders, all 850 of them]. Don't let anyone get away!" They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered them there" (1.Kgs.18:40 NIV).
Elijah did not hesitate to use his authority and power as a prophet of God to punish wicked and rebellious behavior in order to proclaim the message of repentance that God had given him. He aggressively reprimanded both civil and religious leaders who were in opposition to the true God and he eliminated those he perceived as a threat to his mission. See 2.Kgs.1:1-12.
Selected by God
From what is recorded about Elijah, it is clear that God selected him as a prophet and communicated directly with him. Notice that at Mount Carmel, Elijah announces that his authority and power to do the things that he did came from the Creator God. Notice also that one of Elijah's responsibilities was proclaiming God's message of repentance, so that God could turn the Israelites from paganism to his teachings:
Elijah the Miracle Worker
Elijah had a very powerful ministry and worked many miracles through the awesome power that God gave him. The following are some of those miracles:
1. He caused the rain to cease for three and a half years. 2. He caused it to rain after three and a half years of drought. 3. He created food as an act of mercy. 4. He resurrected a dead child as a very special blessing. 5. He caused God to consume his offering with fire as a display of his authority. 6. He caused fire to consume two different groups of soldiers that came to arrest him. 7. He parted the Jordan River at the completion of his active ministry in Israel.
Where Did Elijah Go?
After Elijah had finished his primary work in Israel, he was sent to the house of Judah to continue his ministry as a prophet. Then, Elisha assumed the responsibility as prophet to Israel.
A Letter From Elijah
After Elijah left Israel, he sent a letter to king Jehoram ( his reign began in 848 B.C.) stating that punishment would come upon him and the nation of Judah for their wickedness and rebellion against God:
"Also, he had made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the people of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and led astray Judah. And a writing came to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, So says the Lord, the God of your father David, Because you have not walked in the ways of your father Jehoshaphat, and in the ways of Asa the king of Judah, and you walk in the way of the kings of Israel, and caused Judah and the people of Jerusalem to commit fornication like the fornications of the house of Ahab; and also you have killed your brothers, the house of your father, who were better than yourself; behold the Lord shall strike with a great destruction among your people, and among your sons, and among all your goods; and you, with many sicknesses, with disease in your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the sickness, day by day" (2.Chron.21:11-15 Para.).
Elijah's letter to King Jehoram shows that, after Elijah's departure from Israel in a fiery chariot, he was still alive and actively preaching a message of repentance to the covenant people.
THE SECOND ELIJAH—JOHN THE BAPTIST
"In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly" (Lk.1:5-6 NIV).
John's mother was of the Aaronic bloodline and his father was a priest of the course of Abijah, which meant that he was also of the Aaronic bloodline. Therefore, both of the parents of John the Baptist were of the tribe of Levi.
Selected by God
Before John was born, his father was told that he would have a son, and that this son would herald the coming of the Messiah who would bring salvation to the world.
"He will be a joy and a delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. . . and he will be filled with the holy spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Lk.1:14-17 NIV).
John was selected before his conception to announce the advent of the Messiah. Notice also that, just as with the first Elijah, God chose John the Baptist to turn the hearts of the people to righteousness.
"And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest [God the Father]: for you shall go before the face of the Lord [Jesus Christ] to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation to his people by the remission of their sins,. . . To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Lk.1:76-77,79 KJV). See also Matt.1:18-22.
Here, we see that John was a representative of God the Father, whereas the first Elijah was a representative of the Creator God who became the Messiah. This is an important understanding, because the third Elijah will represent and have authority and power from both God the Father and Jesus Christ.
"As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before my face, which shall prepare your way before you. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight" (Mk.1:2-3 KJV). See also Isa.40:3-5; Matt.11:7-10; Lk.3:2-4.
John's mission was to lay the foundation for God the Father's messenger (the Messiah) to build upon. John was to make the announcement of the coming message and the messenger and to set the boundaries of the message that the messenger would give—"make his paths straight." Therefore, John's message contained the foundational elements of the things that Jesus Christ would teach, such as repentance, forgiveness of sin, baptism, and the Kingdom of God:
"John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission [pardon or deliverance] of sins" (Mk.1:4 KJV).
"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, And saying, Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt.3:1-2 KJV).
Jesus did not deviate from the message that John announced that he would proclaim. From the beginning to the end of his ministry, Jesus explained in great detail the things that concern repentance, pardon of sin, baptism, and the Kingdom of God.
THE WORD AND THE LIGHT
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him [The Word, The Logos]; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shined in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not" (Jn.1:1-5 KJV). See our study concerning the identity of God for details pertaining to the relationship between the Creator God and God the Father.
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world" (Jn.1:6-9 KJV).
The apostle John clearly says that Jesus was the Light of God who came to illuminate the world with spiritual insight, and that John the Baptist was the one who God sent to prepare the way for the coming of the Light (i.e., Jesus Christ).
"But when he [John the Baptist] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees [the religious ruling class and those who were priests] coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham" (Matt.3:7-9 NIV).
When John tells these religious leaders that they need to repent, he knows that they think they are righteous because they look to the teachings of the Patriarchs (the spiritual fathers of Israel). This is why John says what he does about their reliance on Abraham. He tells them that they cannot rely on Abraham for their salvation.
A Great Man
"Jesus said of John the Baptist, what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you. I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist: yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he" (Matt.11:9-11 Para.).
John was a great man. He had impeccable character and performed a great work for God. The birth and ministry of John the Baptist was the second most important birth and ministry that has ever happened on earth, because John made the announcement of the coming of the Messiah who would reveal and proclaim the good news from God the Father.
How did John the Baptist prepare the way for the first advent of Jesus? John made the announcement of the coming of the Messiah to redeem humanity. Among other things, John's message contained the foundational elements of the things that Jesus Christ would teach, such as repentance, forgiveness of sin, baptism, and the Kingdom of God.
THE FIRST TWO ELIJAH'S MISSIONS
Some significant differences between the missions of Elijah and John the Baptist are as follows:
The following are some of the similarities between the missions of Elijah and John the Baptist:
THE THIRD ELIJAH
Why Elijah Must Come
The disciples were well versed in the prophecies as many of their day were; however, they did not understand them. They knew that the prophet Malachi foretold that God would send Elijah before the advent of the Messiah; therefore, that is the reason for their question concerning Elijah:
"And his disciples asked him, 'Why do the Scribes say that Elijah must come first? Jesus replied, Elijah truly will come first and restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him what ever they wanted to do. Likewise shall the Son of Man suffer at their hands.' Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist" (Matt.17:10-13 Para.). See also Matt.11:10-14; Mk.9:11-13.
Jesus clearly says that John the Baptist was the prophetic Elijah who was to come before the Messiah. When he said, "Elijah truly will come first and restore all things," Jesus clearly reveals that there would be yet another Elijah to come after John the Baptist. The reason another Elijah must come is that John the Baptist did not come to restore anything; however, when the third Elijah comes he will be involved in the restoration of all things. However, what are these things that he will restore?
The only clear prophecies concerning Elijah's ministry during the time just prior to Christ's return as Lord of lords and King of kings are found in the prophecies of Malachi and Matthew:
"Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me. . ." (Mal.3:1 KJV).
"Behold I am sending you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction" (Mal.4:5-6 Para.).
"And Jesus replied, Elijah truly will come first and restore all things" (Matt.17:11 Para.).
Within these three prophecies are the keys to understanding the ministry of Elijah during the end of the age. Notice that he will prepare the way before Christ's return, and that he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the sons and the sons to the fathers.
The Fathers and the Sons
The prophetic reference to fathers and sons by Malachi is a reference to the fathers who taught the truth of God, such as the Patriarchs, Moses, the Aaronic priesthood, and the Apostles. The sons are a reference to those who are taught the righteous ways of God through these teachers of righteousness.
The Things to be Restored
The prophetic reference by Jesus of the restoration of all things is a reference to the restoration of God's worship system. The restoration of God's worship system includes the sacrifices and Jesus' teachings concerning the salvation of humanity and the spiritual relationship between God the Father and his elect children. See our study papers concerning the covenants and the sacrificial system that will be established after the return of Christ.
The message of the third Elijah is centered around the restoration of the truth of God. Therefore, we should expect the third Elijah to restore an understanding of how the worship system that God instituted at Mount Sinai and the worship system that Jesus Christ instituted at Jerusalem work together in the salvation of any who will believe and worship God the Father in truth.
When these two aspects of the Father's worship system are restored and understood in the light of his plan for the salvation of humanity and are believed by those whom he calls to salvation, it can truly be said that the hearts of the fathers are turned to the sons and the sons to the fathers, because belief in and adherence to God's true worship system results in a return to a harmonious relationship between the fathers who taught righteousness (i.e., the Patriarchs, Moses, Aaron, the Apostles, and others) and the sons (i.e., those who are taught righteousness and believe).
To Whom is the Third Elijah Sent?
The first Elijah and second Elijah (John the Baptist) were both sent to the covenant people (Israelites). All the prophecies concerning national Israel just prior to Christ's return clearly show a powerful warning and witness message being given to the house of Judah (the Jews) and the house of Israel (the ten scattered tribes of Israel). From these prophecies, we can see that the third Elijah will also proclaim God's message to Israel. If indeed the third Elijah is sent to modern day Israel, his message will be heard loud and clear in the Jewish nation of Israel as well as Israelitish nations, which include the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Northwestern Europe.
The Third Elijah's Message
When we review the ministries of the first Elijah and the second Elijah (who came in the spirit and power of the first), we find that both had one major thing in common; they both preached a powerful warning message of repentance to God's covenant people and called for them to return to the true and uncorrupted worship of the true God, so that they would not have to face the wrath of God.
The primary emphasis of their ministries concerned the establishment and/or restoration of a spiritual relationship between God and his chosen people. It is also evident by what is said of the third Elijah's ministry that this will also be one of his messages.
A Warning of Punishment
Before God administers punishment, he always sends a prophet to warn his covenant people that he is about to punish them for their wickedness and rebellion against him. Therefore, because the third Elijah will be a prophet, it seems logical that, along with his call for Israel to repent and return to their God, he will give them a warning message concerning the consequences of not repenting.
If the third Elijah comes with the same type of authority and discretionary power as the first Elijah, he will more than likely use this power like the first Elijah did in the performance of his responsibilities.
How Will Elijah be Recognized?
Because the second Elijah was not recognized until Christ revealed that he was John the Baptist, a logical question would be: How will the third Elijah be recognized for who and what he is? There are three major things that will help one to recognize the prophet Elijah:
1. His message of the restoration of the spiritual truths concerning God's first covenant with national Israel and the new covenant that God the Father established through Jesus Christ.
2. His call for the civil and religious leaders and the people of the houses of Judah and Israel to repent and return to the true worship of God.
3. His knowledge, understanding, and proclamation of the true gospel message as set forth by Jesus Christ, the apostles, and the unified spirit-filled body of Christ.
THE TWO WITNESSESBack to Alphabetical Index | Back to Top | Back to Chapter Index
The two men called the Two Witnesses in Revelation chapter 11 play a pivotal role in fulfilling prophesies concerning the calling of humanity to repentance and the proclaiming of God the Father's good news message to the world. As we will see, the scriptures show that these two men will be given tremendous authority and spiritual power from God in order to accomplish their mission just before the first resurrection and the return of Jesus Christ to conquer the earth and establish the Kingdom of God. See Matt.24:14.
Because the actions of the Two Witnesses will have a dramatic impact on the whole world during their 3˝ year ministry, it is important to understand who they are and why God will send them. Therefore, this study of the major prophecies concerning these two men is in a chronological order of prophetic events.
THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM
The building of a temple and the establishment of the sacrificial system of worship are required under the covenant that God made with national Israel at Mount Sinai and are central to the mission of the Two Witnesses and the fulfillment of many of the prophecies leading up to the first resurrection and the return of Christ. It is, therefore, important to have an overview of how the building of the temple will develop.
Daniel prophesied that the daily sacrifices would be stopped and an abomination will desecrate the holy place within the temple at the end of the age. The gospel of Matthew records that Jesus referred to this same event as being one of the signs leading to his coming. In order for the daily sacrifices to be stopped and the holy place to be desecrated, there are a minimum of three things that must exist in Jerusalem in accordance with the Sinai covenant: An altar for sacrifices, priests of the Aaronic bloodline to perform the sacrifices, and a temple with a holy place in it.
Because the temple is the focal point of the Two Witnesses' ministry, it must be concluded that the Aaronic priesthood will be established with a high priest to officiate over it and a temple will be constructed in Jerusalem before Christ's return. But, who will begin the process of building the temple and re-establishing the priesthood and the sacrificial system in Jerusalem?
THE PROPHET, GOVERNOR, AND HIGH PRIEST
Haggai 1:1-14 Paraphrased
"In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying: So speaks the Lord of hosts, saying, These people say, The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built" (vs.1-2).
Here, the prophet Haggai brings a stern reprimand from God to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the high priest, regarding the lack of enthusiasm that they and the people of the house of Judah had for rebuilding his temple in which to perform his worship system.
In the prophecies of Zechariah, these two individuals who were instrumental in rebuilding the temple and in establishing the sacrificial system of worship in Jerusalem (520 B.C.) are also symbolic of two prophetic individuals who will accomplish the same task just before the return of Christ.
"Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai saying, Is it a time for you, yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruin? Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: Give careful thought to the results of your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it" (vs.3-6).
God sent Haggai the prophet to tell them,"Look, here you are living in your luxurious homes, you like to have the good life, and yet you are putting off rebuilding the temple" (vs. 3-6 Para). The point is that they had known for some time that they should have been rebuilding the temple, but they had been procrastinating; therefore, God sent Haggai to command them to rebuild it.
The Jews in this age have known for many years that a temple should be built in Jerusalem and that God's sacrificial system of worship should be established, yet they have been procrastinating since the formation of the modern nation of Israel. They have ignored the clear instructions of God, just as their ancient ancestors did in the time of Haggai.
It is important to note that the ministries of Haggai and Zechariah covered some of the same time period. Therefore, in order to gain a clear picture of how God viewed the Jews' procrastination in not rebuilding his temple, how he reacted, and what he expected from that time forward, please read the rest of chapters 1 and 2 of Haggai. This information is important in understanding Zechariah's prophecies concerning the building of the temple in Jerusalem in the end of this age.
The Prophetic Zerubbabel
During the end of this age, the prophetic Zerubbabel (a government official in the Jewish nation of Israel) will receive a number of different messages from Jesus Christ concerning his call to repentance and salvation. Jesus Christ will also give him the authority, spiritual power, and responsibilities that he will have during the end of this age just before the first resurrection.
His Call and Authority
"The second time the word of the Lord came to Haggai in the 24th day of the ninth month, saying. Speak to Zerubbabel, the 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 nations; and I will overthrow their chariots, and their riders and horses, and their riders shall come down, each one by the sword of his brother. In that day, says the Lord of hosts,I will take you, O Zerubbabel, my servant, son of Shealtiel, says the Lord, and will make you as a signet: for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts" (Hag.2:20-23 KJV Para.).
Clearly, this is a prophecy for the end of this age when God will shake the heavens and the earth causing great destruction. He will then conquer the nations of this world. Notice that Zerubbabel is called to be a signet (Hebrew: Sum hotam. English: an authorized seal) for God. This man is given the authority to use the awesome power of God in a discretionary manner in order to carry out his responsibilities during the end of the age.
His Power Over Nations
In order to understand this prophecy, one should keep in mind that all of this prophecy is in the context of a prophet being sent to command a governmental official in the Jewish nation to initiate the process of building the temple.
Whatever Zerubbabel is going to do for God, he is going to do it through the spiritual power that God gives him:
"This is God's message to Zerubbabel. Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of Hosts. Who are you, O great mountain [government/nation]? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. And he will bring forth the capstone [a reference to Christ] to shouts of Grace! Grace to it. And the word of the Lord came to me [Zechariah] saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you" (Zech.4:6-9 Para.).
These verses show the awesome power over this world's nations that the prophetic Zerubbabel will have. He will have a major role in the building of a temple in Jerusalem along with his participation in proclaiming the gospel message that will culminate in the first resurrection and Christ's triumphant return.
The prophecies of Zechariah leave little doubt that a high government official of the Jewish nation of Israel is the prophetic Zerubbabel who will initiate the building of the temple in Jerusalem. The prophecies also show that he may well be one of the two witnesses. But, if he is not one of the two witnesses, he is an extremely important and powerful man who will proclaim the gospel message to the world during the end of this age.
THE PROPHETIC JOSHUA
In the third chapter of Zechariah, we see a clear and easily understood prophecy concerning the conversion of the high priest of the temple in Jerusalem to true Christianity during the end of the age.
Zechariah 3:1-7 Paraphrased
"Then he [God's messenger] showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this [Joshua] a burning stick snatched from the fire? And Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and he stood before the angel" (vs.1-3). See also Amos 4:11.
Here, we see the prophetic Joshua in his capacity as the high priest. Besides the messenger and Joshua, Satan is present to accuse Joshua of wrong doing. This prophetic Joshua is called a burning stick pulled out of the fire, which symbolically pictures him as being one who is in the process of being destroyed because of his sinfulness; however, God has rescued him from eternal death for his own righteous purpose.
Notice that Joshua's garments are very dirty. This is another reference to the spiritual condition of this man prior to his conversion as a true Christian. Because the high priest only wears his priestly garments for official functions within the temple, perhaps this prophetic event takes place just before one of the functions in which he must officiate at the temple.
Joshua's Sins Forgiven
In verses 4 and 5, a prophet from God (the prophetic Zechariah) is directly involved in the events surrounding the high priest's conversion to a son of God under the new covenant:
"The angel [messenger] said to those who were standing before him, Take off his filthy clothes. Then he said to Joshua, See, I have taken away your sin [lawlessness], and I will cloth you with a change of ceremonial robes. Then I [Zechariah] said, Put a clean turban on his head. So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by" (vs.4-5).
Notice carefully that the angel (messenger) says that he has taken away this man's sins. Also notice that it is the prophet (the prophetic Zechariah) who says to place a clean turban on Joshua's head. The placing of the turban again shows that the prophet from God is very involved in the conversion process of the high priest.
Concerning the messenger noted in verses four and five, it must be understood that angels do not have the authority to forgive sins. There are only two beings shown in the scriptures who can remove sins: God the Father and Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ does this through the authority given to him by his Father. Because the Father will not come to earth until his plan for the salvation of humanity has been completed, this messenger must either be Jesus Christ or someone else who has been authorized to give this message of forgiveness to the high priest. (The prophet Nathan gave such a message to David and Isaiah gave such a message to Hezekiah).
"The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: This is what the Lord Almighty says: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you will judge my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place to walk among these standing here" (vs.6-7).
There are four extremely important things to note from verses 6 and 7:
1. The high priest has not been a righteous man, because he has lived his life as a Jew following the practices of Judaism, a practice that Jesus says is in opposition to the righteous ways of his heavenly Father. See Matt.3:7; 12:33-34; 15:7-9.
2. We see that, in order to continue in his office as high priest, this man must observe and practice the ways of righteousness that will have been revealed to him. And he must perform the mission that he will be given.
3. This man will be offered the awesome opportunity to represent God the Father and Jesus Christ, govern the household of God (the servants of God), be responsible for spiritual things of God on earth, and to fellowship with the servants of God.
4. This man will have an awesome opportunity and an equally awesome responsibility. However, if he does not follow through with what he has been instructed to do, he will lose his eternal salvation, because whoever functions as the high priest in the end of the age is one of the two witnesses and will have God's holy spirit. And anyone who fails to follow God's ways after receiving the holy spirit will die the second death in the Lake of Fire. See Matt.13:36-42; Rom.6:23; Rev.21:8.
THE THREE FROM BABYLON
Either just before or shortly after the temple has been constructed in Jerusalem, there will be three individuals that come to the high priest bearing gold and silver to be used in the making of crowns for his use as he officiates in his capacity as high priest and one of the Two Witnesses.
The prophecy of the three men from Babylon is an extremely technical and difficult prophecy to understand. Perhaps, the only ones who will fully understand it before Christ's return are those who will be directly involved in its fulfillment. However, there is some important information regarding the high priest and his end of the age ministry that can be gained from studying this prophecy.
Because of the complexity of this prophecy, a paraphrased translation is used with notes and a literal translation attached for those who want to make a more in-depth study of this specific prophecy.
Zechariah 6:9-11, 14-15 Paraphrased
"And the Lord spoke to me saying, Take of them, from the exiles Heldai, and from Tobijah, and from Jedaiah who have come from Babylon; and in that day you go and enter into the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah" (vs.9-10).
These three men come from among the ten scattered tribes of Israel (the exiles) who are collectively called Babylon because of the many paganized religious systems that are practiced by these Israelitish nations.
"And take the silver and gold and make crowns, and set one on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest:" (v11).
The prophet whom God sends to deal with the high priest is responsible for taking the gold and silver and making crowns.
"And the crowns shall be for a memorial in the temple of the Lord for Helem, and to Tobijah, and Jedaiah, and to Hen, the son of Zephaniah" (v14).
There are four individuals mentioned who will be memorialized because of the good work that they will have done in regard to the high priest and temple.
"And the distant ones shall come and build in the temple of the Lord. And you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And this shall be, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God" (v15).
An interesting thing to note in verse 15 is that the word 'you' is in the plural form throughout, which suggests that a group of people are being addressed by the prophet. Whoever these three are who come from afar, they will either build in or on the temple. There are two ways to view this passage. It refers to either the physical building of the temple or the building of spiritual things within an established spiritual entity, such as the body of Christ. See the attached notes with the literal translation of this text for more comments concerning this prophecy.
Zechariah 6:11 seems to support the premise that the crowns are the faith once delivered that will become a memorial to them in the temple (the end of the age church). If this is true then these three could be of the elect who come to Jerusalem and are instrumental in restoring the truth of God and bringing it to those who officiate over the priesthood.
Perhaps, the fourth man is a prophet of God and may, along with the other three, be instrumental in the conversion of the Two Witnesses by teaching them the restored truths of God.
It is obvious that these scriptures are speaking of a physical temple in Jerusalem at the time of the end. However, the last part of verse 14—"as a memorial in the temple of the Lord"—could refer to the spiritual temple of God, which is the elect (the church).
THE PROPHETIC OLIVE TREES
Zechariah 4:1-14 Paraphrased
"Then the angel who had been talking with me woke me, as though I had been asleep. What do you see? he asked. I said, I see a golden lamp stand with seven lamps and a bowl on top of it with seven tubes that feed the seven lamps, and two olive trees are beside it, one on the right of the bowl and one on its left. And I spoke to the angel that was talking with me, and asked, What are these my lord? And he said to me, Do you not know what these are? And I said no my lord" (vs.1-5).
In order to understand the prophetic meaning of verses 1 through 5, it is necessary to study verses 11 through 14, because they seem to be a continuation of the prophecy in verses 1 through 5:
"Then I asked the angel, What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lamp-stand? Again I asked him, "What are these two clusters of olives that are beside the two golden pipes emptying the golden oil from themselves? He replied, Do you not know what these are? No, my lord, I said. So he said, These are the two sons of fresh oil who stand by the Lord of the whole earth" (vs.11-14).
The Two Olive Trees
Trees are often symbolic of men or people and the olive tree is sometimes symbolic of righteousness and that which endures; therefore, it seems logical that the trees represent two righteous men.
Because the angel says that the olive trees are two individuals who are at the right and left side of God, it can be assumed that these two play an extremely important role in the plan of God for the salvation of humanity.
The Hebrew word translated 'lamp-stand' is 'manora'; therefore, the lamp-stand in these verses is a lamp-stand similar to that which stood in the ancient temple.
The Oil and the Lamp-stand
The seven lamps are light givers and because this is a prophecy for the end of the age, it seems logical that the seven lamps are symbolic of the seven churches and/or seven spiritual leaders that exist and give spiritual light to the world just before Christ's return. See Rev.1:12,20; 2:1.
The bowl at the top of the lamp-stand is a reservoir that holds the golden oil that comes from clusters of olives on the two olive trees (i.e., the fruit of the two trees). The Hebrew word for fresh oil noted in verse 14 is 'yitsar', which refers to fresh oil used for cooking and in lamps to give light. Oil is often symbolic of the holy spirit; however, the holy spirit comes from God the Father and this fresh oil will come from these two men who serve the God of the earth (Jesus Christ) at his right and left hand. Therefore, it seems logical that the fresh oil is spiritual knowledge that is directed through these men to the seven churches who will use this knowledge for spiritual enlightenment.
THE MINISTRY OF THE TWO WITNESSES
Revelation 11:3-14, Literal Translation
"And I will give to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lamp-stands [candlesticks] before the Lord of the earth" (vs.3-4).
This is absolute proof that the two olive trees that are noted in Zechariah 4:1-5, 11-14 are symbolic of the two witnesses. Because Zechariah 3:1-10 clearly shows that the high priest who will officiate in a temple in Jerusalem is a direct representative of Jesus Christ, he must be one of the Two Witnesses.
These two men will have powerful protection from all their enemies as they proclaim God's message and cause tremendous destruction on the earth through the use of their supernatural spiritual power, in order to prove that what they say is from God. These two men will have the spiritual power to destroy anyone who attempts to stop them from completing their ministry:
"And if anyone desires to harm them, fire comes out of their mouth and devours their enemies. And if any one desires to harm them, so it is right for him to be killed" (v5).
"These have the authority to shut up the heaven, that no rain may rain in the days of their prophecy [3˝ years]. And they have authority over the waters, to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire" (v6).
Their proclamation of the gospel as a witness and warning to the world will be accomplished over a period of 3˝ years and will be performed with unimaginable power, signs, and wonders.
"And when they complete their witness, the beast coming up out of the abyss will make war with them, and will overcome them, and kill them" (v7).
Only after their mission is complete will God allow them to be killed by the Beast, but only for the purpose of showing that their witness was true and that they were indeed sent from the true God.
"And their bodies will be on the street of that great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where our lord was crucified" (v8).
After they are murdered by the leaders of the Beast system in Jerusalem, their bodies will be left to lie in the street.
"And some from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will see their dead bodies for three and a half days and refuse them burial. And the inhabitants of the earth will rejoice, and celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth" (vs.9-10).
After killing the Two Witnesses, the world will gloat and celebrate, because these two troublemakers who brought so much destruction to the world, especially to its economic system, are dead.
"And after the three and a half days a spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear struck those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them [the Two Witnesses] Come up here. And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies watched" (vs.11-12).
Because these two men will have been dead for 3˝ days, it is easy to imagine the fear and terror that will grip those who see them come back to life, hear a voice from heaven calling to them, and watch them rise through the air and disappear in the clouds.
"And in that hour a great earthquake and a tenth part of the city fell. And seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, seven thousand names of men, and the rest became terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven" (v13).
Throughout the ministry of these two witnesses, God will bring various types of plagues upon the earth as punishment upon his covenant people and the rest of the world for their wickedness. He will also call for them to repent and be saved from his wrath that will soon come in great fury upon all of humanity. Shortly after the death of the Two Witnesses, there will be a great earthquake that clearly shows that the God of the Two Witnesses is not finished with his punishment of the wicked and that there is more death and destruction to come.
"The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon" (v14).
As these events unfold in rapid succession, the festive attitude of the people will suddenly turn to terror and panic as they realize that more devastating plagues are coming.
Just before the first resurrection and Christ's return as Conquering King to establish his Father's Kingdom and during the end of this age of human rule on earth, there will be two dynamic and powerful men who will proclaim God the Father's good news message from Jerusalem. One of these men will be the high priest who presides over the temple worship system in Jerusalem. Although there is no concrete scriptural proof, it is likely that the governmental official in Israel who initiates the building of the temple will also be one of the two men who proclaim the gospel from Jerusalem.
Because both of these men will be God's direct representatives on earth, it can safely be assumed that they will become sons of God the Father's new creation sometime before the beginning of their collective ministry. Together with the congregations of God scattered throughout the world, these two will preach a powerful warning message of repentance to the house of Judah (the Jews/Israelis), the house of Israel (the ten scattered tribes of Israel), and the world at large.
The Temple and God's Presence
Historically, every time that the Jews have turned back to God and his sacrificial system of worship, the Creator God has honored their effort with his presence. Therefore, it is a strong possibility that the Creator God will honor their future attempt to honor him and he will meet with them in the temple as he did anciently.
Within a relatively short time after the end of the age temple is completed, the armies of the Beast system will overrun the Jews. When this happens, the temple and the holiest of holies will be defiled. Because God cannot live with defilement, if his presence does come to reside in this end time temple, it will leave just as it did in the past before the temple was defiled. See Matt.24:15-16.
But before this happens, the antichrist will be actively opposing the Two Witnesses and the elect of God as they proclaim the Father's good news of his coming Kingdom, which will be ruled by Jesus Christ.
The impact of the Two Witnesses and others of the elect of God will have a devastating affect on the False Prophet and Beast power's religious/governmental system as God pours his wrath upon it, and great multitudes around the world turn from this Babylonian worship system to worship the true God.
Zechariah 6:9-15 Literal Translation
"And the word of He Is was to me [i.e., Zechariah, 'Yah has remembered'], saying, Take from the exile: from Heldai [my durations], and from Tobijah [my good is Yah], and from Jedaiah [Yah has known] and you [the prophet] will come in that day, and you will come to the house of Josiah [Yah will support], the son of Zephaniah [Yah has treasured /hidden] who have come from Babylon"(vs.9-10).
"And you shall take silver and gold and make a crowns [crowns: plural], and you [the prophet] will place on the head of Joshua [He Is, is salvation] the son of Jehozadak [He Is, has been righteous], the great priest" (v11).
"And say to him [the high priest]: Thus said He Is armies, saying, Behold a man—Tsemah [sprout/growth] is his name, and from under him [Tsemah] it will sprout, and he will build the temple of He Is" (v12).
"And he [the prophetic Zerubbabel] will build the temple of He Is. And he will carry splendor and he will sit and rule on his throne and a council [abstract noun, not a person] of peace shall be between the two of them [the priest and his throne]" (v13).
"And the crowns will be for Helem [a dream], and to Tobijah [my good is Yah], and Jedaiah [Yah has known], and to Hen [grace], the son of Zephaniah [Yah has treasured /hidden] for a memorial in the temple of He Is" (v14).
"And the distant ones will come and they will build in/on the temple of He Is and you [plural] will know that He Is armies has sent me [the prophet] to you [plural]. And it will be so if you [plural] listen well to the voice of He Is; your God" (v15).
THE PROPHECY OF HAGGAIBack to Alphabetical Index | Back to Top | Back to Chapter Index
The prophecy of Haggai is very short yet very important, because its primary focus is on the end of the age right before the return of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. The message of Haggai is directly tied to Zechariah's prophecy concerning the events that will occur during this same time period.
JERUSALEM AND THE HOLY LAND
This study represents our best understanding of the sequence of events that will unfold surrounding Jerusalem and the Holy Land as prophesied by Haggai. The understanding presented here is based on many clear prophecies about the end of the age and the return of Jesus Christ. However, please realize that by the time you read this, some of these events may have already occurred.
The events shown in Haggai's prophecy are very compressed, and many of these events will happen in an extremely short period of time. It is very clear that the focal point of Haggai's prophecy is the contemporary nation of Israel and, in particular, the city of Jerusalem. His prophecy also foretells events that will impact not only the Holy Land but also all other nations on earth.
THE TIME PERIOD
In order to clearly establish the time period in which the prophetic portions of Haggai's writings will be fulfilled, it is necessary to review the following four topic areas contained in Haggai's writings:
1. All Nations Will Be Shaken 2. The Heavens And Earth Will Be Shaken 3. Past And Present Building Of The Temple 4. The Instruction to Build the Temple
1. All Nations Will Be Shaken
"For this says the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, says the Lord of hosts" (Hag.2:6-9 KJV).
It is clear from the scriptures that there has never been a time in history when God has shaken the heavens, the earth, and all the nations. But, this is what he says he will do just before Jesus returns as King of kings at the end of this age. See also Heb.12:26.
2. The Heavens and Earth Will Be Shaken
"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, says the Lord of hosts, will I take you, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, says the Lord, and will make you as a signet: for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts" (Hag. 2:21-23 KJV).
Clearly, this is an end of the age prophecy. Here, we see that God shakes the heavens and the earth, overthrowing the kingdoms (nations) of the world. "In that day," is a reference to the end of the age (Isa.2:17-21; Zeph.1:7-10, 12-16; Joel 3:9-18; Zech.14:1-8,13,20). And as we will see, it is also very clear that God gives the prophetic end-time Zerubbabel great power and authority to represent him and proclaim his good news message to the world.
3. Past and Present Building of the Temple
"And now, I ask you to consider from this day and forward, from the time before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the Lord" (Hag.2:15 Para.).
"Consider now from this day and forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid, consider it" (Hag.2:18 Para.).
Both of these references about laying the foundation and construction of the temple refer to a past and a future fulfillment.
"Is the seed yet in the barn? yes, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, has not brought forth: from this day will I bless you" (Hag.2:19 Para.).
Symbolically, the word 'seed' normally refers to either the Messiah or the elect of God. Because the word 'barn' is used in the context of a harvest, and the elect of God are the first of his harvest of humanity that will be collected prior to Christ's return, it is highly likely that this 'seed' refers to the elect of God who are called to salvation, and the barn represents the Family and Kingdom of God. The various trees that are to bring forth fruit seem to symbolize those servants of God who preach the gospel in the end of the age. See Mic.4:2; Matt.3:10-12; 13:30-42.
4. The Instruction to Build the Temple
Haggai 1:1-2, 7-8 Paraphrased
"In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, This says the Lord of hosts, These people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built [i.e.,The rebuilding of the temple is being delayed]" (vs.1-2).
"This says the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, says the Lord" (vs.7-8).
This refers to a past and a future fulfillment. For many years, the Jews of today (the Israelis) have made plans to build a temple. They have procured the necessary items for the practice of the sacrificial system, prepared a priesthood for service in the temple, and even become aware of the ceremonial hand gestures that are necessary in order to give offerings and sacrifices. However, they have not gone forward because of political pressure and a persistent controversy that surrounds the location of the future temple (i.e., the City of David, the Temple Mount, or The Mount of Olives). They have prepared for the building of the temple because they know that God requires a temple as part of his covenant agreement with his chosen people, yet they have procrastinated just as their ancient ancestors did.
When examining the first two chapters of Haggai, notice the authority that is behind these prophecies. The expressions "Then came the word of the Lord" and "This says the Lord" occur twenty-five times in just two chapters.This alone shows the enormous importance of these prophecies to the fulfillment of God's plan for the salvation of humanity.
Haggai recorded the following five messages about the events that will dramatically effect world events just before the first resurrection and Christ's return to establish his Father's kingdom on earth:
1. The instruction to construct the temple is given (Hag.1:1-12). 2. The construction of the temple is begun (Hag.1:13-15). 3. The Jews are encouraged to build the temple (Hag.2:1-9). 4. The Jews are a defiled people who need a temple (Hag.2:10-19). 5. Zerubbabel will be a personal representative of God (Hag.2:20-23).
HISTORICAL AND FUTURE DATES
It is not very often that God mentions the specific dates of events in prophecy by the day, month, and year; however, in both chapters of Haggai, specific dates are mentioned. Most likely, these same dates are also prophetic and tied to significant events in the end of the age. See the last page of this study for a summary table which outlines these five messages and the sacred calendar dates that are associated with them.
The Instruction to Build the Temple
The 1st Day of the 6th Month (Sacred Calendar)
Haggai. 1:1-12 Paraphrased
"In the second year of Darius the king [a date historically established as 520 B.C.] in the sixth month, in the first day of the month [this is a New Moon] came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, This says the Lord of hosts, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house [the temple] should be built" (vs.1-2).
Historically, the temple had actually been started in 538 B.C., but because of political pressure, a decree was issued that stopped its construction for almost eighteen years. Therefore, God sent a prophet to stir the Jews into action. It is very likely that a similar sequence of events will soon occur concerning building a temple in modern Jerusalem.
"Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O you, to dwell in your finished houses, and this house lie waste?" (vs.3-4).
These were Jews who had come out of captivity and were trying to fulfill their own desires. Today, a similar situation exists. The Israelis have been building their own nation, their own homes, and their own economy without regard for building a temple in which to worship God.
"Now therefore this says the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways [take stock of what you are doing.] You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but you have not enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but there is none warm; and he that earns wages earns wages to put it into a bag with holes" (vs.5-6).
This scripture was true then and it is true today. Look at the way money is wasted in Israel. Modern Israel still has problems with their economy and consistently needs to be supported by the western powers, especially the United States. Yet, Israel is a prosperous nation by world standards.
"This says the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways [think about what you are doing]. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house [the temple]; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, says the Lord. You looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? says the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that is waste, and you run every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you holds back its dew, and the earth is prevented from bearing fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the grain, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground brings forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labor of the hands" (vs.7-11).
After this stern reprimand from God through his emissary Haggai the prophet, the governor, the high priest, and the people were moved to rebuild the temple.
"Then Zerubbabel [the governor of Judah at the time this was written.] the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the Lord" (v12).
The Construction of the Temple Begins
The 24th Day of The 6th Month (Sacred Calendar)
"Then the Lord's messenger Haggai, spoke the Lord's message to the people, saying, I am with you, says the Lord [If you do this, God says he will be with you in doing it]. And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God. In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king" (Hag.1:13-15 Para.).
Notice that the date given is the 24th day of the 6th month of the 2nd year of King Darius' reign (520 B.C.). Could it be that this same day and month are important in the end of the age and are a reference to when key preparations will be made that lead to the construction of a temple in Jerusalem?
The 21st day of the 7th Month (Sacred Calendar)
Haggai 2:1-23 Paraphrased
"In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month [this was also the 7th day of the Feast of Shelters/Ingathering, which is the last day of the Festival prior to the Festival of the Eighth Day], came the word of the Lord by the prophet Haggai, saying, Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do you see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?" (vs.1-3).
Some of these Jews had seen the magnificent splendor of the temple that Solomon had built for God's presence to dwell in. Here, God reminds them that he requires a proper temple for his presence to dwell in instead of the ruins that the temple had become.
"Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, says the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land, says the Lord, and work: for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts: According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so my spirit remains among you: fear you not" (vs.4-5).
This same message is also meant for the Jews who live in this age, because God made a covenant with all of Israel, including the Jews, from the time that he brought them out of Egypt to participate in his plan for the salvation of humanity to this present day and far into the future—even after Christ's return. Notice that verses six and seven clearly place the time frame of verses four and five in the end of the age:
"For this says the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts" (vs.6-7).
Of what house is Haggai speaking? He is referring to the temple of God at Jerusalem in the end of the age and he may also be referring to the new temple that will be constructed in Jerusalem after Christ's return.
"The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, says the Lord of hosts" (vs.8-9).
Again, this likely has two applications; one is right in the end of the age and the other can be after the return of Christ. God will grant relative peace during the time the temple is being built in the end of the age and for a short time thereafter.
The Jews are a Defiled People Who Need a Temple
The 24th Day of the 9th Month (Sacred Calendar)
"In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month in the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, This says the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then Haggai said , If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, says the Lord; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer is unclean" (vs.10-14).
Here, God says that these Jews are physically and spiritually unclean before him. But why are they unclean? They are unclean because they do not have a temple in which to atone for their physical and spiritual sins. They cannot perform the sacrifices that are required under the Mount Sinai Covenant through which their physical and spiritual defilement can be set aside. Therefore, they are impure, and God cannot dwell with them to nurture, protect, and bless them as he desires until they again establish the temple worship system.
"And now, I ask you, consider from this day forward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the Lord [before the construction of the temple begins]: Since those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labors of your hands; yet you turned not to me, says the Lord. Consider now from this day forward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was established. Set your heart" (vs.15-19).
Here, we see that those who are to participate in the building of the temple and the establishment of the sacrificial worship system must carefully consider the enormity of the events that they are about to set in motion. Notice that they are to give themselves to this task without reservation of any kind.
Zerubbabel Will be a Personal Representative of God on Earth
"And again the word of the Lord came to Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor [high position in the Israeli government] 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, says the Lord of hosts, will I take you, O Zerubbabel [high ranking government official], my servant, the son of Shealtiel, says the Lord, and will make you as a signet [a symbol of royal authority]: for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts" (vs.20-23).
In order to understand this prophecy, it is important to keep in mind that all of this prophecy is in the context of a prophet being sent to command a governmental official in the Jewish nation to initiate the process of building the temple just before Jesus Christ's powerful intervention into world affairs. Zerubbabel is called to be a signet for God (i.e., an authorized seal), because he is given the authority to use the awesome power of God to carry out his responsibilities during the end of the age.
SPECIFIC DATES FOR EVENTS BEFORE CHRIST'S RETURN
Below are a number of things that should be considered when trying to understand the specific dates that are noted in Haggai's prophecy:
With the above information and the background material that we have reviewed, we can review the specific prophetic dates, events, and people mentioned in Haggai that surround the future construction of the temple in Jerusalem.
The 1st Day of the 6th Month (Sacred Calendar)
The Instruction to Build the Temple
The message given on the 1st day of the 6th sacred month, concerns God's prophet being sent to contact Zerubbabel and Joshua regarding the need to rebuild the temple. Therefore, it is highly likely that God will send a prophet to the modern equivalent of Zerubbabel (an Israeli government official) and Joshua (the one who will become the high priest) on a New Moon to instruct them to move the temple building project forward.
The 24th Day of The 6th Month (Sacred Calendar)
Temple Construction Begins
The 24th day of the 6th sacred month is just a short time before the Festival of Trumpets. This seems to be the time when the Lord inspires Zerubbabel and Joshua to do work on the temple along with a remnant of the House of Judah. If this applies to the end of the age, it may mean that construction of the temple begins on this date.
It seems likely that some kind of agreement will occur shortly before this involving the Islamic nations and the Israelis which will allow a temple to be built.
The 21st Day Of The 7th Month (Sacred Calendar)
God's Presence in the Temple
The 21st day of the 7th sacred month is the 7th day of the Festival of Shelters/Ingathering. This event in Haggai 2 shows God's prophet encouraging Zerubbabel (Israeli government official) and Joshua (the High Priest) to be strong and tells them about the events that will shake up the world in the near future. The prophet tells them to be strong, because God will be with them in building the temple and establishing the sacrificial system of worship, which will lead to God shaking the nations, the earth, and the heavens.
It seems unlikely that, at this point in time, these two men will be aware of the tremendous task that lies ahead of them as personal representatives of Jesus Christ. They probably will be unaware of their part in bringing massive destruction upon the earth, including the destruction of the pagan religious and governmental systems of this world.
The 24th Day Of The 9th Month (Sacred Calendar)
Israel Is A Defiled Nation
The last date that is specifically mentioned is the 24th day of the 9th month on the sacred calendar.
Notice that the prophet addresses the priesthood as a whole regarding the understanding of defilement; this prophetically shows that the people in the modern nation of Israel are living in a defiled condition before God and need to repent of their evil ways and receive national purification through God's sacrificial system of worship.
The Signet for God
Haggai 2:20-23 Paraphrased
The 24th day of the 9th month is also mentioned as the time when the prophet is given the charge to tell Zerubbabel that he will be God's signet on earth during the time when God pours out his wrath on a wicked and perverse generation:
"And again the word of the Lord came to Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, 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 (nations); and I will overthrow the chariots, and those who ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother" (vs.20-22).
Here, we see the prophet describing what is surely going to come to pass after the temple is built in Jerusalem. The peace that comes to the Israelis during the construction of the temple will be short lived, because Jesus Christ will intervene in world events and begin to pour out the wrath of God and overthrow the nations of earth through his signet.
"In that day, says the Lord of hosts, will I take you, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, says the Lord, and will make you as a signet: For I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts" (v23).
There is a lot of information packed into Haggai's short prophecy, which seems to show that, in the latter days, God will likely send a prophet to urge an Israeli governmental official (the prophetic Zerubbabel) and the one who will become the High Priest (the prophetic Joshua) to initiate an action that will lead to the building of a temple in Jerusalem.
It is very clear from the Book of Zechariah and the Book of Revelation that the prophetic Zerubbabel (an Israeli governmental official) and the prophetic Joshua (the high priest) who officiates over the temple system are going to have a major role in the construction of the temple after which they will be led to conversion as sons of the Father's new creation and assume their respective roles in preaching the gospel and doing God's will to bring about the return of Jesus Christ as King of kings.
SUMMARY OF THE FIVE MESSAGES OF HAGGAI
DATE ON SACRED CALENDAR
1. A Call To Build The Temple
6th Month, 1st Day (New Moon)
2. Message Reinforced &Temple Construction Begun
6th Month, 24th Day
3. Temple Will Be Filled With God’s Glory-People (Jews) Encouraged To Go Forward
7th Month, 21st Day (7th Day of Festival of Shelters/Ingathering)
4. Jews Are A Defiled People Who Need A Temple.
9th Month, 24th Day
5. Promise To Zerubbabel To Be A Signet For God
9th Month, 24th Day