Did this take place during Zerubabbel's life or is there a future Zerubbabel character?

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.” (Haggai 2:21-23 English Standard Version)

  • Haggai 2:23 Hebrew the
  • I am about to shake the heavens and the earth.
  • I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations.
  • declares the Lord, and make you like a* signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of hosts.

Has these three events taken palce?

  • Are you asking if Ezra 1-3 is the fulfillment of חַגַּ֣י Chaggai 2:22-23? Aug 12, 2021 at 17:48

6 Answers 6


Most understand the prophecies of Hag 2 to be Messianic.

  • Hag 2:1-9 is about the future glory of the temple being then built (V9) because it would be graced the personal presence of the Messiah Himself.
  • Hag 2:20-23 is a prophecy about the continued dynasty of David to be fulfilled in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. See Matt 1:1, 20, 9:27, 12:23, 15:22, 20:30, 15, 21:9, 15, Mark 10:35, Luke 1:32, 33, 18:38, 39, John 1:49, Acts 13:32-37, Heb 1:8.

More specifically, the Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament says this about Hag 2:21 -

Renewal of the Promise of Salvation. - Haggai 2:20. On the same day on which the Lord promised to the people the return of the blessings of nature, Haggai received a second revelation, which promised to the community the preservation and care of the Davidic monarchy, represented for the time by Zerubbabel, in the midst of the storms that were about to burst upon the power of the world. Haggai 2:21. "Speak to Zerubbabel the governor of Judah thus: I shake the heaven and the earth. Haggai 2:22. And I will overthrow the throne of the kingdoms; and destroy the might of the kingdoms of the nations; and will overthrow the war-chariots, and those who ride in them: and horses and their riders shall fall, one by the sword of the other. Haggai 2:23. On that day, is the saying of Jehovah of hosts, will I take thee, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant, is the saying of Jehovah, and make thee as a signet-ring: for I have chosen thee, is the saying of Jehovah of hosts." אני מרעישׁ does not stand for הנני מרעישׁ, but the participial clause is to be taken as a circumstantial clause: If I shake heaven and earth, I overthrow (cf. Ewald, 341, c and d). The words point back to the shaking of the world predicted in Haggai 2:6, Haggai 2:7. When this shaking takes place, then shall the throne of the kingdoms be thrown down, and their might be destroyed. The singular כּסּא is used collectively, or rather distributively: "every throne of the kingdoms." The throne is the symbol of the monarchy, or of the government (cf. Daniel 7:27); not in this sense, however, that "the prophet regarded all the kingdoms of the earth as one combined power in contradistinction to the people of God, or as a single power, as the power of the world, which was sitting as mistress at the time upon the throne of the earth" (Koehler).

Similarly, Barnes says this:

I will shake - Haggai closes by resuming the words of a former prophecy to Zerubbabel and Joshua, which ended in the coming of Christ. Even thus it is plain, that the prophecy does not belong personally to Zerubbabel, but to him and his descendants, chiefly to Christ. There was in Zerubbabel's time no shaking of the heaven or of nations. Darius had indeed to put down an unusual number of rebellions in the first few years after his accession; but, although he magnified himself on occasion of their suppression, they were only so many distinct and unconcerted revolts, each under its own head. All were far away in the distant East, in Babylonia, Susiana, Media, Armenia, Assyria, Hyrcania, Parthia, Sagartia, Margiana, Arachosia. The Persian empire, spread "probably over 2,000,000 square miles, or more than half of modern Europe," was not threatened; no foreign enemy assailed it; one impostor only claimed the throne of Darius. This would, if successful, have been, like his own accession, a change of dynasty, affecting nothing externally.

It is also possible that Hag 2:20-23 contains some predictions about Jesus second coming because of the shaking of the heavens which appears to be repeated in the predictions such as Matt 24:29, Mark 13:25, Luke 21:26, Rev 6:13, etc.

  • thank you for your answer +1. I have read the verses about "Son of David" Matt 20:15 & Mark 10:35 came up and seems not to fit. OK empires grow during the time of Zerubbabel so either it was a spiritual conquering at Messiah's first coming or a literal at the second coming. Aug 13, 2021 at 13:28

It must be Messianic. I am not going to comment on verses 21 and 22. But verse 23 seems to be a reversal of the curse of Jeconiah (Jehoiachin).

24 As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; 25 And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. 27 But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return. 28 Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? 29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD. 30 Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah. (Jeremiah 22)

The king must have repented while in the exile because he was eventually released from the prison. And in 2 Kings 25 he is pictured as another Joseph. It is a partial reversal of the curse.

27 And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison; 28 And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon; 29 And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread continually before him all the days of his life. 30 And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life. (2 Kings 25)

Then we have the complete reversal of the curse of Jeconiah in Haggai 2. Zerubbabel was a descendant of Jeconiah.

23 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts. (Haggai 2)

As a result, Jesus can have Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) in His genealogy and still be a legitimate Davidic king (Matthew 1:11).

11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: 12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; (Matthew 1)


A little late here but one possible early fulfillment of this prophecy could be seen in the actions of Darius to fund the reconstruction of the temple and the return of the gold and silver articles to the temple.

The 'shaking of kingdoms' is generally the rising and falling of kings, kingdoms, and empires and with Cyrus being the earlier ruling king, his line failed to hold onto the throne, and instead, Darius took power. Although Cyrus sent the exiles back to Jerusalem the rebuilding efforts stalled, but it was with the new King Darius' help that the temple was finished and the gold and silver belonging to God was returned to the temple.

Ezra 6:1-9 records Darius' decree to do all this.

The scale of the overthrow mentioned in these later verses in Haggai 2 seems grander than the transition from the line of Cyrus to Darius, but the success of building the temple in Jerusalem and the prosperity of Israel in this way would be seen as God's approval of Zerubbabel as governor, God's signet ring.

At the same time, the overall thrust of the passage, and the citation of 2:6 in Hebrews 12, suggest a dual reading of this prophecy - a local, short-term fulfillment, and a more distant, eternal fulfillment.

Herbert Wolf in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society wrote a short summary paper looking at this passage.


The prophecy was not fulfilled. It clearly pertains to a historical person, Zerubbabel, a descendant of King David in whom both Haggai and Zechariah held great hope. Zerubbabel did apparently rebuild the Temple but historically, he did not represent God as his chosen one during the events that Haggai predicted, as mentioned in the OP.

Not only did Haggai call Zerubbabel God's "signet ring," who would preside as God's "chosen" during the events in question, the prophet repeated that this was God's word three times in one sentence:

23 On that day—oracle of the Lord of hosts—I will take you, my servant, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel—oracle of the Lord—and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you—oracle of the Lord of hosts. (NABRE)

A more definite and emphatic prophecy a of person's destiny is hard to imagine. Moreover Haggai was not alone in his messianic hope for Zerubbabel. The prophet Zechariah called him one of "two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” (Zechariah 4:14) The other 'anointed one' is Joshua the high priest. Zerubbabel's role, not being priestly, must be royal. Yet the prophecy of Zerubbabel's royal anointing, like that of his becoming God's signet ring, did not come to pass.

Conclusion: The prophecy of Haggai 23 was not fulfilled. But did it fail? I prefer to think of it in the terms many translators use for Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 13:8 "As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away." (ESV) The messianic hope of God's people did not not fail, despite Haggai's prophecy seeming to "pass away." For Jews that hope remains in the future. For Christians it was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.


This was for the future. There is only one person ever chosen to be God’s Signet ring Zerubbabel. There is only one place in the Bible that God’s Signet ring will be used. Revelations 7:2-3. An Angel appears with the seal ( Signet ring ) of God.I have studied this for 26 years.

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    Nov 1 at 13:58

This prophecy was fulfilled.

520-515 BC Zerubbabel built the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

The Second Temple (see Ezra 1 to 6) was a shadow of its former glory but, hundreds of years later, Herod would spend 46 years turning it into a magnificent building.

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