Devotional Commentary on Haggai 2


Typical for this period during and after the exile, is the addition of chronology mentioning the day, month and year of the ruler to put the revelation of God on a time map. It is not a myth or legend but there is a specific date when it was received.

Whereas they made the consecration on the 21st of September 520 BCE (chapter 1) Haggai received another vision on the 18th of October 520 BCE or the 21st of the 7th month. He has to speak again to the three parties: Zerubbabel, Joshua and the remnant of the people.

He should ask them a question. Who of them saw the Solomonic temple? Some people of course did. “And as you see it now, is it not as nothing in your eyes?” (verse 3).

The Lord wants them to be strong “for I am with you” (verse 4).

They obviously was weak in faith and spirituality and needed God to be with them. Only Immanuel can help us. God with us.

Rabbi Redak translated it in the future tense: “I will be with you”.

God then reminded them of the covenant that He “set up” karah with them when they left Egypt in 1450 BCE and arrived at Sinai Mountain in 1448 BCE.

God has confidence that it will be a success. Provided that they realize something important: The Trinity is in their midst. “And My [Holy] Spirit stands in your midst, fear not” (verse 5). God Yahweh and God the Holy Spirit stands in their midst.

Although I see it as the Third member of the Trinity with an individual separate function apart and away from God Yahweh in the sense of vicarius filii dei/vicarius dei, namely, substitute of the Son of God or God, others like the Targum and J. Michaelis saw it as the “Spirit of Prophecy”. Delitzsch rejected this option. Others saw it as the enabling spirit that helped the Hebrews to construct the tabernacle in Exodus 31:1 which was the view of Osiander and Köhler (1860). Delitzsch (1884: 190) rejected this option.

Delitzsch said that this spirit is “the power of the Spirit working in the world, which is able to remove all the external obstacles that present themselves to the realization of the divine plan of salvation” (1884: 190).

For Rabbi Rashi it meant: “my spirit will rest upon your prophets”. It cannot be correct since it is a power available to more than just selected speakers for God.

In verse 6 the Lord said something that was eschaton bound. The commentator Köhler saw it and argued for the Second Coming of Christ in this verse. Delitzsch felt that it was a case from the First Advent of Christ until the Second Advent. He wanted to slightly differ with Köhler whom he described in detail.

“Another one, and I will shake up the heaven and the earth and the sea and the dry land a little while” (verse 6). Köhler (1860: 65) translated “in a short time it happened”. Hengestenberg translated it as: “also a small thing it is”. Burk, Hitzig and Hofmann translated it as: “also a time, a short one is it”. Köhler also felt that one can translate it as: “also an epoch, a short one is it” (1860: 68). The socalled Septuagint left this phrase out in the translation. The Vetus Latina/Old Latin of 190 CE also left it out in that Latin translation. Coccejus, Schmid and Marckius left it also out of their translations (1860: 68). L. de Dieu translated it as “a single case of a short time” (1860: 69). Delitzsch like the rendering: “once, and only once, will Jehovah henceforth shake heaven and earth” (1884: 191).

Jerome and Coccejus thought that this verse of the earthquake is talking of the action of the Holy Spirit upon the heathens with the preaching of the gospel but Köhler rejected that option.

Calvin understood it spiritually to be a supernatural violent impulse which God impart in His elect (1860: 72).

It is not earthquakes happening every year almost daily. It is a one-time event in future where God will shake not only the earth but also the surrounding heavens. It is an event that did not happen before.

The extend of this shaking is going to be global and not just at Sinai where there was a shaking when the Torah was received.

“And I will shake up all the nations and they shall come [this is the literal correct translation] the precious things of all the nations”.

This verse was understood as Messianic by many interpreters. Luther, Franciscus Lambertus, Balduinus, Osiander, Scheibel.

The verb “coming” is plural and not singular so it cannot mean “the Desire of all nations will come”. It is: “they come, the desire of all nations”. Rabbis translated it differently. “And they shall come [with] the precious things of all the nations” (Rabbi Rosenberg). This is not possible since there is no preposition here. It was also the translation of Rabbi Redak in the Middle Ages but as I said, there was no preposition here. It is clear that the syntax is difficult.

Let us try the whole sentence: “And I will shake up all the nations and they will come. The Desire of all the nations”. This is the Second member of the Trinity mentioned in this chapter. So now all three were mentioned.

This is literal what is there. Maybe the meaning is that the nations will be shaken up at the Second Coming of Christ and that the Desire of all nations at that time will simultaneously with this shaking up, come. In this sense the absent preposition inserted by the Rabbis line up with the Christian expectation of the Messiah Christ at the Second Advent.

There is more that the Lord will do when the heathen nations are shaken-up: “I will fill this House with glory said the Lord of Hosts”. It cannot be the second temple built in Haggai’s time. It must be the heavenly temple or heavenly sanctuary. Köhler argues that it cannot mean the incarnation of Christ at the First coming teaching in the temple but a one-time event at the Second Coming (1860: 76).

Ownership is spelled out by God: “The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine” says the Lord of Hosts (verse 8). Why of Hosts? Because at this point in time, maybe after the Hell Event of the action of the Warrior Messiah His glory will fill the temple and He will have ownership over everything. Christ receives for example the kingship from the Father when the Door of Mercy closes and the Investigative Judgment is finished. Host? A host of angels will come with Him at the Second Coming.

“The glory of this last one shall be greater than the first one” (verse 9). The heavenly sanctuary glory shall be greater than the earthly sanctuary glory.

“And in this place [heavenly sanctuary after the Second Coming] I will grant peace” (verse 9). Away from Satan, away from all evil people on earth, the saints will have lasting peace in heaven. Safety and security.

Then on the 18th of December 520 BCE Haggai had another vision.

He had to ask the priests a Torah question.

If he had contaminated flesh on his garment and he touch there and also on bread and wine and oil whether they will also be contaminated? The answer is negative (verse 12).

If a dead body touches the bread, wine and oil whether that will be contaminated? The answer is positive (verse 13).

This second answer is really a type of the people since they are contaminated and whatever they are sacrificing for God or dedicating for Him, is contaminated (verse 14). The principle is this: if a person’s heart with God is not right, without conversion it is impossible or not advisable to make any donation to God. It is contaminated and He does not want it. He does not need it. What if it is millions that the person wants to donate? Heart first. That is the rule.

God investigated their heart “and now, to your heart from this day and before” (verse 15).

They put stone upon stone in the Temple of the Lord in Haggai’s day. The Lord wants to make a point about their dedication.

They would come to a heap of stone thinking there is a lot but actually there are almost nothing or if they would come to storeplace for wine and thought there are many, and only 50% remains (verse 16).

They should ask themselves why their resources are depleted with 50%?

Plagues or droughts or disasters do not come over a country in vacuo.

God sent it but they did not convert to Him (verse 17).

This is the issue.

They are to put it in their heart “put it to your heart” (literal translation). The day the Temple was founded (verse 18).

There are many fruit trees that did not yet provide fruit in that season but the Lord promise that “from this day I will bless” (verse 19). If they are returning to the Lord the blessings would come.

A second time that day in December a vision came to Haggai and repeated what he saw before.

He had to tell Zerubbabel about the future shaking of heaven and earth (verse 21). He will overthrow the thrones of the kingdoms and I will destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations (verse 22). Köhler (1860) is correct in viewing this at or after the Second Coming of Christ. “Wenn Jehovah Himmel und Erde eschüttert, also am Tage seines Kommens, dann stösst er um den Thron der Königreiche” (Köhler 1860: 108). [My translation: when Yahweh shakes the heaven and earth, also at the Day of His coming, then He pushes over the throne of the Kingdoms].

Christ the Warrior Messiah after the 1000 years in heaven of the saints, will have a Hell event and at this Hell event He will deal with evil in finality. “I will overthrow the chariots and their riders and the horses and their riders shall come down, each one by the sword of his brother” (verse 22).

Köhler was not an Adventist with a premillennial view and thus could not properly explain Haggai here.

At that time, when God creates the heaven and earth anew after the Hell extinction of all evil, at that time “I will make you as a signet, for I have chosen you, says the Lord of Hosts”.

Ellen White said of this action of the Lord in Haggai:

“God will not suffer one of His truehearted workers to be left alone, to struggle against great odds and be overcome. He preserves as a precious jewel everyone whose life is hid with Christ in Him. Of every such one He says: ‘I . . . will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee.’ Haggai 2:23.” Ellen White in The Ministry of Healing, page 488.


Dear God

We want to be Your signets. Find us worthy of the price Christ paid for us. In Jesus Name. Amen.