The Hebrew prophet Haggai
wrote about B.C. 520 during the rebuilding of the
Temple in Jerusalem (B.C. 520-516) after the
Babylonian Exile. His goal was to encourage the
builders by giving a word of hope.
Haggai may be a
contraction of Haggiah meaning "festival of Yahweh."
He was evidently born in Babylon during the exile,
or was an extremely old man who returned to
Jerusalem as a member of the group of nearly 50,000
with Zerubbabel. He recorded his messages during the
reign of Darius (c. 520 B.C.).
It is said that the
Jewish rabbis were accustomed to lament that five
things in the first temple were lacking in the
second. These were the sacred fire, the Shekinah,
the ark and cherubim, the Urim and Thummim and the
spirit of prophecy. As to the outward appearance the
second temple was greatly inferior to the first.
Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had removed the
temple treasures and vessels (Ezra 3:12, 13; 2 Kings
There were some very old
people in their midst who had seen the Temple in its
former glory and this new one they were building was
"nothing in comparison" (2:3). Word was getting
around the camp so Haggai preaches to encourage them
to continue on with the task for God's glory. "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" (v. 4). You
can't miss his emphasis. It is "take courage," "take
courage," "take courage" "and work" because the Lord
is with you.
There is no reason to
fear because the Lord is with them. "I am with you .
. . My Spirit is abiding in your midst" (vv. 4-5).
Don't despise the days of small things if God has
His hand in it. The Lord is their King and Shepherd
and they will therefore lack nothing in the service
of the Lord. He will provide the means of fulfilling
His temple with splendor.
THE SHAKING OF THE
"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" (v. 6).
Perhaps the LORD is
reminding the people of the time when He shook the
world when He descended upon Mt. Sinai and gave the
covenant to the people of Israel (Exodus 19:16-20;
cf. Heb. 12:26). However, the prophet is speaking of
a time when the shaking of the world will be more
violent and will affect the heavens and the earth.
All nations will be affected and even the islands of
the sea. We are given the impression that the whole
universe will be shaken.
This "shaking" is a
herald of the coming of the Lord to judge the
nations of the earth. It reminds us of the vivid
prophecy of Isaiah in 24:18-23.
The later prophets
employed the imagery of the shaking of the nations
as the inauguration of the messianic age (cf. Ezek.
33:19-33; Isa. 13:13; 24:18-23; Joel 3:15-21).
Haggai foresees the whole universe in convulsions
that effect every nation.
The apostle Peter wrote
of such a shaking in 2 Peter 3:10-13. "But the day
of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the
heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements
will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth
and its works will be burned up. Since all these
things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of
people ought you to be in holy conduct and
godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of
the day of God, because of which the heavens will be
destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt
with intense heat! But according to His promise we
are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in
which righteousness dwells."
Nothing in the universe
will remain the same. The Almighty God and His
Messiah will break the power of the nations. The
ultimate fulfillment of this passage will be at the
Second Coming of Christ. Haggai continues in verses
21-22, "I am going to shake the heavens and the
earth. And I will overthrow the thrones of the
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, every one by the sword of another."
Yahweh is the sovereign ruler who overthrows the
powers of the kingdoms. He is sovereign over the
nations. Wars and revolutions are nothing but His
shaking of the Gentiles. The LORD God reigns. He
uses these cosmic events to accomplish His
THE DESIRE OF THE
The LORD God says, "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" (v. 7).
The margin of the NASB reads, "the Desire of all
nations will come." Who is this person and when will
There are two prevailing
interpretations of this verse. Older scholars
following Luther see Christ as the "Desire of the
nations," and another group that interpret it as not
a reference to the person of the Messiah, but to a
"far wider and richer sense that the mere literal
appearance of His person in the literal temple"
(Thomas Moore). Luther was a strong proponent of the
interpretation that Luke 2:22-26 was the fulfillment
of Haggai. In one sense, Jesus Christ will be the
desire of all the nations. Matthew 24:14 Jesus said,
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the
whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and
then the end will come."
On the other hand, Calvin
concluded, "the more simple meaning is . . . that
the nations would come, bringing with them all their
riches, that they might offer themselves and all
their possessions as a sacrifice to God."
God is never short on
supply for His people and His eternal purposes. God
is not dependent upon men to supply His needs.
Everything belongs to Him.
"The wealth of all
nations," or "desire of the nations" is a
designation for the Messiah. You can translate it
"desire," or "consolation." The Gentile nations will
come to the desire of all nations, the Messiah. He
is "the object of desire" meaning that in which a
man finds pleasure, joy and value.
Isaiah and Micah told of
all nations flowing to the mountain of God to
worship Him and hear His Word. He will be the one in
whom the nations find their treasure and riches. He
is the "Pearl of Great Price."
The key idea is expressed
by Keil and Delitzsch, "That shaking will be
followed by this result, or produce this effect,
that all the valuable possessions of the heathen
will come to fill the temple with glory." Isaiah
comforted his people saying,
Behold, the Lord God will
come with might,
With His arm ruling for
Behold, His reward is
And His recompense before
Like a shepherd He will
tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather
And carry them in His
He will gently lead the
Jesus was a descendent of
Zerubbabel, but there is no evidence to think Haggai
thought Zerubbabel was the messiah.
The result of all this
shaking of the universe will be the filling of the
Temple with the glory of the Lord.
THE GLORY OF THE LORD
"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" (vv.
The Temple is going to be
filled with the possessions of the Gentile nations
as they come to worship their King. Through the
shaking they realize that He is sovereign over the
A beginning of this
fulfillment can be seen in Jesus coming to the
Temple and cleansing it. The glory of Yahweh filled
the tabernacle and Solomon's temple at their
dedication. The fulfillment commenced when Yahweh
came to His temple in the person of His Son Jesus
Christ the Messiah. The prophet Malachi wrote in
3:1, "Behold I am going to send My messenger, and he
will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you
seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the
messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight,
behold, He is coming," says the Lord of hosts."
The time of the greatest
glory of that Temple was fulfilled in the ministry
As the incarnate Logos,
in whom the "glory of Yahweh" filled the temple,
Jesus Christ brought glory to the temple in the
truest essence. He brought a greater glory to the
Temple with His divine presence, not in symbolic
form, but true divine glory. The glorification of
the house of God commenced with the Incarnate Son of
God and will reach it consummation when He returns.
Cf. Rev. 21:10, 11, 22-24. Cf. Heb. 12:26-27. It
takes in the whole span from the first coming of
Christ to His return in glory.
The glory of the second
temple was that it was the starting point for the
new covenant. This glory reaches over the entire
unfolding of the glorious kingdom of Christ.
The Jewish temple finds
its ultimate fulfilment in the great high priest,
Jesus Christ. A greater fulfilment will be the Lord
Almighty and the Lamb in the New Jerusalem (Rev.
Therefore, Yahweh can
say, "The latter glory of this house will be greater
than the former" (Haggai 3:9). The former glory is
that of Solomon's temple, the later that of
Zerubbabel of which Herod is only a remodeling and
addition. The final glory will be a lasting one.
"In this place I will
give peace." The Prince of Peace is one who brings
peace to Jerusalem. When He reigns as sovereign the
world will know true peace. Note the parallel
passages (Mic. 5:4; Joel 4:17; Isa. 60:18). Jesus
came to give us perfect peace. Cf. Isa. 9:7; 66:12;
Ps. 72:17; Lk. 2:14.
Haggai makes an
astonishing promise: "The glory of the latter house
shall be greater than that of the former one" (v.
9). At the second coming of Christ the unfulfilled
passages in Haggai will be accomplished and fully
realized. Jesus Christ will be the desire of all the
nations of the world. He alone can change the heart
of the peoples. His will be a kingdom that will not
be shaken (Heb. 12:26-28). The glory and honor of
the Gentile nations will be brought into it (Rev.
21:24, 26). The temple as a sanctuary will disappear
but the essence of the promise will be fulfilled in
the New Jerusalem, where "the dwelling of God is
with men" (Rev. 21:3; 22).
It is my prayer that you
will let Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,
the Messiah become the desire of your heart.
Title: Haggai 2:6-9
The Desire of the Nations
Christ in the Old Testament