Where is the Gospel in Haggai?
We see it in two places – Zerubbabel and the temple.
Zerubbabel, mentioned in the final passage of chapter two (2.20-23), was the faithful descendant of David who lead the people in restoring the temple was one of the ancestors of Christ (Matthew. 1.12, Luke 3.27) and foreshadowed Jesus’ faithful zeal to build God’s house (Duguid).
John 2:17 says of Jesus,
“Zeal for your house will consume me.”
God’s kingdom will be established through a great servant who has a great zeal for the work of God.
Haggai closes with a special word to Zerubbabel (2.23).
23 On that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the LORD, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the LORD of hosts.”
Let’s read that again and think Jesus…
23 On that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will take you, Jesus my servant, my son, declares the LORD, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the LORD of hosts.”
So even in this small obscure work hidden amid the minor prophets, we see that Haggai points us to the coming of Jesus Christ. He is the greater Zerubbabel, God’s chosen servant and signet ring.
The other key to applying the book in a gospel-centered way is to see that the temple, like the tabernacle before it, was the visible symbol of God‘s presence. It was the road where God and man met. It was a mini-Eden. The tabernacle, we see in Exodus, was built to the exact specifications that God supplied. With the temples His involvement is not so prominent, sadly, and we start to see that temples are but a preview of a time when God and man would dwell together again, minus all the layers of separation; outer courtyards, holy places, the most holy place (Challies).
The tabernacle looked back to Eden, God and man dwelling together in each other’s presence, and the temple too looked back to Eden, the place where heaven and earth meet, the place where the presence of God lived with His people.Tweet
They both also look ahead to God’s Messiah, the Christ, the annointed One, the One in whom the Word became flesh and “tabernacled”. John 1.14 says,
14 καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο, καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν
And the Word became flesh and pitched a tent among us.
And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.
Jesus is the true tabernacle.
The message of this book for us is not REALLY about restoring a building in Jerusalem, or about constructing a contemporary building. Haggai is all about the ongoing work of building up the people of God, the church, the body of Christ, through the presence of God available to us in Jesus.
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.
His presence is our temple, we can commune and communicate with Him directly and personally and this was always the plan. Right back from Genesis we see that this was always the plan, but the whole narrative of the Bible shows us that we as people didn’t realise what a massive privilege that was, and how good we had it, so we had to experience rejection to appreciate the welcome, we had to experience trials and tribulation to experience the peace, we had to experience life without the presence to appreciate life with the presence.
It was always God’s plan to dwell with His people, the tabernacle, the moveable temple tent, the temple in Jerusalem, these are previews, types, shadows of the real substance that is God’s presence dwelling with us.
Jesus came to demonstrate this, Jesus brought it to earth as God in human form, and when He comes again, physically, bodily, He will establish His reign on earth and He will take His rightful place as the desire of all nations…is He your desire today?