In this article, we will explore a prophecy that relates to one of the most important biblical times that is occurring right now: Chanukah (Hanukkah), the Feast of Dedication and the Festival of Lights. We begin the story at the time of the building of the second Temple. Let us remember that the first Temple (Solomon’s Temple) had been glorious beyond imagination (1 Kings 6). Shortly after Solomon’s death, the children of Israel were split into the northern House of Israel (Ephraim) and the southern House of Judah (Judah) (1 Kings 12). Because of their abject idolatry and unfaithfulness toward the LORD, He “divorced” the house of Israel (Ephraim) and exiled them into the nations. Similarly, for their idolatry and unfaithfulness, the house of Judah was sent into exile in Babylon. Shortly after the Jewish people (house of Judah) returned to Judea after the Babylonian exile in approximately 536 B.C., the prophet Haggai began to extol the people to rebuild the Temple of the LORD.
Haggai 1:7-9, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways! “Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the LORD. “You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why?” declares the LORD of hosts, “Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.”
The people heeded Haggai’s words.
Haggai 1:12-15, “Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the LORD. Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord. So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month.”
After the people began to build the second Temple, the Word of the LORD came to Haggai again, and he offered insightful words of encouragement to the people.
Haggai 2:4, “But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the LORD of hosts.”
Here we see God proclaiming to His people, “I am with you.” In the book of Isaiah, and confirmed in the book of Matthew, we see the Messiah will be called “God with us,” or Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
Matthew 1:20-23, “But when he (Joseph, husband of Mary) had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Yeshua (Jesus), for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”
After the LORD tells Haggai, “I am with you,” He then tells him something extraordinary.
Haggai 2:6-9, “For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. ‘I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts. ’The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the LORD of hosts. ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the LORD of hosts.”
These verses are often attributed to the building of the second Temple, and also to it’s further expansion under Herod the Great, as it was visited by Messiah during His first coming. While there is no argument that Messiah did bring immeasurable glory to this Temple when He visited it, and He certainly brought peace with God to all who accept His sacrifice, the second (Herod’s) Temple could not compare to the former in it’s shear splendor. Although the Temple was large and impressive, it was not a place of peace, as many battles were fought over it and the Temple was eventually destroyed in a violent siege in 70 A.D. Also, God did not “shake the nations” during the time of the second Temple, and all the nations have not yet brought their wealth to Jerusalem. So, this prophecy, while certainly applicable to the second Temple in part, has not yet fully seen it’s ultimate fulfillment.
Haggai 2:10-14, “On the twenty-fourth of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Haggai the prophet, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Ask now the priests for a ruling: ‘If a man carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and touches bread with this fold, or cooked food, wine, oil, or any other food, will it become holy?’” And the priests answered, “No.” Then Haggai said, “If one who is unclean from a corpse touches any of these, will the latter become unclean?” And the priests answered, “It will become unclean.” Then Haggai said, “ ‘So is this people. And so is this nation before Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.”
The LORD is clearly proclaiming that the people who are unclean/unholy have no ability to make clean/holy anything that they touch. In fact, all flesh (persons), save Messiah, is under sin, and therefore those things that are “unclean” and “unholy” will transmit their “uncleanness” to those things which they come in contact. Therefore, because all of mankind is under sin and therefore “unclean” and “unholy,” no man can be saved by his own works of righteousness (1 Kings 8:46, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:23, Galatians 3:22, Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5). The inability to cleanse ourselves of our uncleanliness/unholiness is clearly seen in the next passage: “If one who is unclean from a corpse touches any of these, will the latter become unclean?” The Levitical priests answer ‘yes.’ Then the LORD tells them “So is this people. And so is this nation before Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.” However, when we examine these verses within the context of Scripture and Messiah, we find some very interesting correlations. First, we see the date that is declared, the “twenty forth of the ninth month,” is Kislev 24. This is Chanukah eve!
The phrase “holy meat” in the Hebrew is baser qodesh, and is the same as “holy flesh” (Strong’s H1320 and H6944). The phrase “fold of his garment” is hakanaf big’do (Strong’s H3671 and H899), which means “wings of his garment” or “corner’s of his garment.” Amazingly, we see this phrase first used much earlier in Scripture to address a very specific thing; tassels (tzitzits).
Numbers 15:38, “Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels (tzitzit, Strong’s H6734) on the corners/wings (Strong’s H3671) of their garments (Strong’s H899) throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel/tzitzit of each corner (kanaf/wings H3671) a cord of blue.”
Above: Picture of tzitzits.
In the book of Malachi, we see another Messianic prophecy regarding the “wings” of Messiah, who is referred to as the Sun of Righteousness.
Malachi 4:1-2, “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in its wings (kanaf, H3671); and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”
In the book of Luke, we read about a miraculous healing by Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah.
Luke 8:43-44, “And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.”
Luke records the woman touched the “fringe of His (Messiah’s) cloak.” The word “fringe” is the Greek word kraspedon (Strong’s G2899), which translated has the exact same meaning as tassel/tzitzit! The bleeding women touched the tassels/tzitzit on the wing’s of Messiah’s garment and she became healed, perfectly fulfilling Malachi’s prophecy from approximately 500 years before!
Now, with this wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, let us review Haggai 2:10-14 and discover an incredible revelation. The LORD asks the priests if a man with holy flesh touches an unclean/unholy object with the “wing’s” of his garment on which the tassels/tzitzit are attached, will the unclean/unholy object be made clean/holy? The Levitical priests answer ‘no,’ and this is true as there is not one person, except Messiah Yeshua, who is not under sin and therefore truly clean. But Messiah, as the sinless Lamb of God, the High Priest in the order of the eternal Melchizedek Priesthood, and whose very flesh is perfectly holy, healed an “unclean, unholy” woman and made her clean and holy in this very way! Similarly, while all are under sin and condemned to death and decay, Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah suffered death on our behalf, yet He was not corrupted by death or decay (Psalm 16:10, Acts 2:26-27), but rather raised to life the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7), the daughter of Jarius (Luke 8), Lazarus (John 11), Himself, and will raise to life all those that put their faith in Him! Hallelujah!!
Haggai 2:15-17, “But now, do consider from this day onward: before one stone was placed on another in the temple of the LORD, from that time when one came to a grain heap of twenty measures, there would be only ten; and when one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there would be only twenty. ‘I smote you and every work of your hands with blasting wind, mildew and hail; yet you did not come back to Me,’ declares the LORD."
Again, “consider from this day onward,” which is Kislev 24, or Chanukah eve, that this is the day that immediately precedes the building of the Temple of the LORD. Prior to this date, the blessings of the LORD were limited, and He was unhappy with the works of His laborers. Because of sin, their (our) works are unclean apart from Messiah. Only with the blood of Messiah can things be truly made “clean” and “holy.”
Haggai 2:18-19, “Do consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month (Kislev 24- Chanukah eve); from the day when the temple of the LORD was founded, consider: ‘Is the seed yet in the barn? Even including the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree, it has not borne fruit. Yet from this day on I will bless you.’”
This is one of the most amazing prophecies in Scripture. We are told for the third time to “consider this date,” Kislev 24, which is Chanukah eve. This is the date just prior to the foundation being laid of the Temple of the LORD. Although the first and second Temples were the dwelling place of God, His true Temple was in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus)!
John 2:19-21, “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body."
Similarly, we as believers are true temples of God’s Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.”
In Haggai 2:19 we are asked a very important question: “Is the seed yet in the barn?” The Hebrew word for ‘seed’ is zerah (Strong’s H2233), and is the same word that is use for ‘offspring.” Zerah is first used in this context in Genesis 3:15.
Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed (zerah); he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
This is one of the earliest Messianic prophecies in the Holy Bible, and clearly shows the “Seed of the woman,” as Messiah. In Scripture, vines, figs, pomegranates, and olive trees all represent those that are tied to Messiah and the Commonwealth of God’s Israel (Ephesians 2:12, Galatians 6:16), as well as His tabernacle, priesthood, and the Promised Land. In Haggai 2:18-19, God has declared that this Seed and these things have not yet borne fruit. God then goes on to say: “Yet from this day on I will bless you.” Amazingly, in these verses we see the very blessings of Messiah! Nearly 400 years before the first Chanukah eve, God promised that on this day He would put the ‘Seed in the barn’ that would bless Israel and the world! He would do this through His Messiah, the Seed of the woman, who would cleanse the unclean, make the unholy holy, and raise the dead to life!
Haggai 2:20-23, “Then the word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month (Kislev 24-Chanukah), saying, “Speak to Zerubbabel governor of Judah, saying, ‘I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. ‘I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders, and the horses and their riders will go down, everyone by the sword of another.’ ‘On that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,’” declares the LORD of hosts.”
Here we see yet again, on the 24th day (Kislev 24 – Chanukah), Haggai prophesies to Zerubbabel. In this passage we clearly see reference to the end of the age, when the LORD will shake the heavens and the earth and overthrow the kingdoms of the nations. In this prophecy, the LORD states: ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you’. Zerubbabel is a prototype of Messiah, and in fact is one of the ancestors from the lineage of Messiah (Matthew 1, Luke 3). He is Jewish, from the tribe of Judah, and is a progenitor of the Lion of Judah, Messiah Yeshua, which is confirmed in both Matthew and Luke’s lineage accounts.
Matthew 1:12-16, “After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.”
Luke 3:27, “…the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,…”
In this amazing prophecy we see more evidence of the LORD’s incredible calendar and Feast Days, and how they all tie together! We see that nearly 400 years before the first Chanukah the LORD had a plan that He would bring to perfect fruition. On Kislev 24, Chanukah eve, the Seed of Life, which is Messiah, had yet to come into the world. God placed this Seed into the womb of Mary on Chanukah, to be born on Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles to tabernacle with men! He was crucified on Passover as The Passover Lamb, raised on Firstfruits as the firstfruits of the resurrection, and will return on the Day of Atonement/Day of Judgement as the promised Signet Ring of the LORD!* He is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Messiah son of David, the conquering King and Prince of Peace, Yahushua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah)! He will be set above all nations and rulers, and those that endure with Him will reign with Him forever and ever! Amen!