In his last sermon to the people of Israel Haggai reminds his listeners that though they live under a foreign authority God is the one in control. Rory shows us that God's unlike all the others, God's kingdom has been established forever.
If you are a Christian then you should be a rebel.
But if you’re thinking, ’I’m definitely a Christian, but I’m not a rebel’, listen to these words of Alice Cooper:
‘Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that’s a tough call. That’s real rebellion.’
The book of Haggai is a book that is all about learning to live rebelliously for the Lord.
It tells the story of 2 houses: The Temple of the Lord, and the House of David. The temple is the place where we can meet God. The house of David represents the King of Kings and his kingdom.
At the time in which the book was written, the remnant of Israel in Judah, were surrounded by foreign powers, who were opposed to the building of a new temple in a thriving Jewish state. The Lord’s people felt weak and vulnerable and were tempted to submit to the stronger powers around them.
But into this situation, the Lord Almighty spoke, as we see in verse 20:
“The word of the Lord came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 21 ‘Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.”
These words were directed to Zerubbabel, to encourage him. But they are also directed at us. They remind us that it is always best to sit under the rule of the Sovereign Lord and his kingdom.
There are 2 things that the Lord Almighty will do when we serve him.
1. Shake the seemingly strong kingdoms (v21-22)
God promises to deal with rebel powers. The mightiest powers in the world will be brought to their knees. And we can see this repeated throughout history.
Kingdoms and empires have risen and been destroyed time and time again. The shakings of empires in this world are, however, small shakings which are actually pointing to the ultimate shaking of the world, when every rebel power and influence will be destroyed and brought to its knees.
Colossians 2:15 sums this up
“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross”
In the very moment of dying on the cross, Christ defeated every rebel kingdom of sin.
When you look at the world today you may be thinking that the rebel kingdoms and powers don’t seem to have been defeated. But Christ has promised that there will be a day when they will be totally and finally defeated.
The book of Revelation in chapters 17 and 18 declares the fall of the Babylon, the great rebel kingdom. Here God is re-establishing his promise to the house of David, to establish an everlasting kingdom.
Hebrews 12:26-27 emphasises this truth:
At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens. The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.’
Be assured, the kingdoms of this world are going to be removed.
2. The Sovereign Lord Sets up a seemingly weak king over an unshakeable kingdom (v23)
Zerubbabel, the governor of the remnant of Israel was assigned the task of overseeing the rebuilding of the Lord’s temple. He was the Lord’s representative, but he was not the King.
The last proper King in the line of David – Jehoiachin – was an evil King, about which Jeremiah the prophet spoke these words in chapter 22:
24 “As surely as I live,” declares the Lord, “even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off.
But about Zerubbabel, the Lord said, in Haggai 2:23
“I will take you and make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you.’
The signet ring showed that he was the representative of a higher authority, and ruler, in the same way that in the book of Genesis, Joseph was the King’s representative over Egypt and Pharoah gave him a signet ring in recognition of this.
Now Zerubbabel did not live to see the fulfilment of this promise, but the promise was not only to him but to his dynasty. Zerubbabel is named in the Davidic line, which leads to the birth of Christ, God’s King, God’s son, the God-man.
And the Lord says This is my King who will be judge of the world, as foretold in the book of Daniel in Chapter 7:13-14
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[a] coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
The reign of Christ brings a new Jerusalem, as described in the book of Revelation. And at the heart of it is the throne on which the Lamb of God sits in absolute rule.
Here is a king and a kingdom that will never be removed, never be shaken.
It may seem weak to be a Christian now, but the Bible promises that Christ will return in glory and majesty to bring an unshakeable kingdom, as it tells us in Hebrews 12:28-29
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
In the light of the cross, on that ultimate day what will you do? Who will you serve?
3. Which king will you serve? Which kingdom will you seek?
Will you stand up as a rebel against the rebellion powers?
Remember, if you settle for the kingdom of this world there is no security, no safety. The only certainty is that you will be shaken and brought to your knees.
If you are in Christ’s kingdom, because he is sovereign, he promises that it will be safe and secure.
In Matthew 6:33 we are told – Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.
What kingdom will you seek?
In light of what is to come and what Christ has already done, we should be working diligently for his Kingdom. So, with all our heart we must seek his kingdom and his righteousness.
Haggai 2:20 - 2:23
20 The word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, 21 “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, 22 and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders. And the horses and their riders shall go down, every one by the sword of his brother. 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.”