After judging them in this manner for a period of about fourteen years, God speaks to His people again through Haggai and Zechariah, restores His government over them in Zerubbabel, and they set Zerubbabel's foundation back in order from the enemy's damage and the decay caused by their own neglect.  God then reminds the people that until the day this was accomplished He had cursed their work; He promises to bless their work greatly from that day forward (2:15-19).  The same prophetic message from God to the people is given with further detail in Zechariah's parallel prophecy (8:9-17).


Returning to Haggai, God foretells (in prophetic type) that His people will rebuild the spiritual Temple to an even greater glory than the original (2:3, 9); this is the fruit of the lessons learned by the people in their great test and accompanying punishment.


The time setting of Haggai's prophecy is clearly indicated to be shortly before the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord (2:6-7, 21-22).  At that time God uses the prophetic Zerubbabel as a “signet ring”:  a stamp that identifies unmistakably the authentic edicts and law of the King, and exposes any contrary directives not stamped by the signet as unauthorized counterfeits of the King's word (2:23).


The parallel prophecy of Zechariah reveals, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple, his hands shall also finish it” (4:9).  The Hebrew word translated “hands” twice in this verse can mean literally that, or a man's personal work and effort.  However, it can also mean the judgments/ordinances/instructions of one in authority when he is not physically present, or even more specifically when he is no longer alive.  The word is so translated regarding David's “ordinance” (literally “hands”) still governing the proper worship of God in the physical temple centuries after David's death; not coincidentally, this reference is found in Ezra's parallel passage describing Zerubbabel's worship ceremony after he laid the foundation for the restored temple (3:10).  The same word can also denote the representatives/agents of the one in authority who faithfully implement and execute his judgments/ordinances/instructions (I Kings 10:29; II Chron. 1:17).


Though he believed he fulfilled the role of the prophetic Zerubbabel, Mr. Armstrong did not believe that necessarily meant he would live to see the spiritual Temple completed:  the time when the Church would have “made herself ready” and become “accounted worthy to escape” to the place of safety by holding fast to all the restored Truth and completing God's work of proclaiming the Gospel as a witness.  Many will recall Mr. Armstrong spoke of his possible death a number of times.  He often noted that prophetic Zerubbabel restores and proclaims not by human “might nor power,” but by the Spirit of God (Zech. 4:6).


To God's glory, the mortal man Herbert W. Armstrong did die, but his true might and power of the Spirit in his teaching and judgments did not die, and will complete the Temple according to God's Word.  His writings will be the heart and core of the work of proclaiming the Gospel that still must be accomplished.