Yesterday we saw that the enemies of Judah had written to the high king of Persia, accusing them of building the Temple in order to raise sedition against Persia; and that the high king (the meaning of the title “Artaxerxes”) had written back, commanding the work to stop. So the enemies of Judah made haste to force the building to stop, with threat of arms.
This Artaxerxes was probably the False Smerdis, the usurper who sat on the Persian throne as a puppet, while mad Cambyses was creating havoc in Egypt. In time, the deception was discovered, and one of the nobles of Persia, of Cyrus’ councilors, was chosen to reign in place of the murdered and mad sons of Cyrus. This man was Darius Hypastes, or Darius the Great.
According to the accepted timeline (which likely has to be adjusted, as there are too many years allotted to the Persian kings before the reign of Alexander the Great) Cyrus made his decree to rebuild the Temple in 537 BC. Cyrus’ sons and the usurper ruled from 529-521 BC when the deception was discovered. It was at some point during these years that the letter was written to Artaxerxes and the command came back for the building to halt. Darius the Great was established as king in 521 BC. It was in his second year, or 520 BC, that the word of the LORD came to Haggai.
The word was to encourage the Jews to begin building again, after their period of enforced inactivity.
Zerubbabel was a great- grandson of Jehoiakim king of Judah. He was of the house of David. He is a type of Messiah, for it was his commission to build the Temple of the LORD, just as it was Solomon’s commission to build the Temple of the LORD, and just as it is the Messiah’s commission to build the Temple of the LORD, a dwelling place for His name, which is His Body (Joh 2:18-21).
That Zerubbabel was a type of Messiah can also be seen in the LORD’s word to him:
“In that day,” says the LORD of hosts, “I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,” says the LORD, “and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,” says the LORD of hosts. Hag 2:23
In what day? In the day that the LORD will shake the heavens and the earth, and overthrow the thrones of the kingdoms, destroying the strength of the Gentile kingdoms, and overthrowing their military might (Hag 2:21-22). This prophecy brings to mind the little stone cut out without hands, which strikes the great image in the feet of iron mixed with clay, and causes the image to topple. The little stone grows to become a great mountain, which is the kingdom of heaven which shall never be destroyed forever and ever (Dan 2). The little stone is Messiah, and for His coming as King of kings, we are still waiting. So Haggai’s prophecy to Zerubbabel is as a type of Messiah.
Also, this is another interesting coincidence. The high priest during this epoch is Joshua the son of Jehozadak (“Yehovah is righteous”). “Joshua” is the anglicized spelling of Yeshua. Yeshua is the High Priest of our confession, and this Joshua is a type of Yeshua the High Priest, just as Joshua who brought the children of Israel into the Promised Land was a type of Yeshua who brings Israel into the Promise.
For further reading:
Biblical Chronology Newsletter, any issues relating to the history of the return of the Jews is Scripturally honoring, logical, and ought to be considered to correct some of the faulty conclusions of many modern historians and Bible commentators.