“‘“On that day,” declares the Lord Almighty,
“I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,” declares the Lord, “and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,” declares the Lord Almighty.’” (Hag. 2:23, NIV).
The final message from the Lord to Haggai was given on the same day as the previous one in order to complement it (see Hag. 2:22-23). The Lord warned of a coming destruction of kingdoms and nations during the day of God’s judgment. But on that same day, the prophet said, the servant of the Lord will accomplish God’s appointed task of salvation. This we can best understand as being fulfilled, ultimately and fully, only at the Second Coming and during all that follows it.
The nation’s political leader is associated here with the glorious reign of Israel’s King David, from whom he was a descendant. Zerubbabel was a grandson of King Jehoiachin and the legitimate heir to David’s throne after the Babylonian exile. He served as governor of Judah under the Persian king Darius the Great, and was a leading force behind the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Joshua was the high priest who also helped to rebuild the temple.
The prophet said that Zerubbabel would be the Lord’s signet ring, an object that provides evidence of royal authority and ownership. Like a king sealing legal documents with a ring, the Lord would impress the entire world through the work of His servant. Although Zerubbabel’s key role in the rebuilding of the temple never should be underestimated, he did not fulfill all of the promises given to him by God through Haggai. The inspired Gospel writers point to the person and ministry of Jesus Christ, son of both David and Zerubbabel, as the final fulfillment of all the Messianic promises found in the Bible.
Read Luke 24:13-27, focusing especially on Christ’s words to the two men. What important message is He giving to them, and how do His words show us the importance of understanding Old Testament prophecy, and why is it so relevant for Christians even today?