Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Four Titles of the Messiah part 3

Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle. Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together. Zechariah 10:3-4

"The second title of the Messiah here is strange: "the Tent Peg." Now, if you look for the word "tent peg" in the NIV Bible, you will only find it here and in the book of Judges. There, we read the gross story of Yael using a hammer to drive a tent peg through the temple of Sisera as he slept. But if you look a bit deeper, you find that the Hebrew word "yathed" is translated as more than just "tent peg." It has also been rendered, "stake, peg, pin, and nail." Thus, as we look for the Hebrew word "yathed" in the Old Testament, we find that there are several Messianic references using this word.

One of the most fascinating ones does not at first appear to be Messianic at all. Turn with me to Isaiah 22. There was once a steward named "Shebna" who was in charge of King Hezekiah's household. He was the manager – the only one that could allow admittance in to see the king.

But his authority had corrupted him, making him proud and arrogant. He had a majestic tomb carved out for himself on a high hill, wore expensive clothing, and traveled in fancily-ornamented chariots. His pride prompted the Lord to bring the following prophecy through Isaiah to Shebna:
Then it will come about in that day, that I will summon My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah and I will clothe him with your tunic, and tie your sash securely about him, I will entrust him with your authority, and he will become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, when he opens no one will shut, when he shuts no one will open.
Isa. 22:20-22

While the prophecy seems to be fulfilled in the man Eliakim, there is a deeper mystery, a prophetic tie-in to the ministry of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. In Revelation, Jesus is called, "...He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens..." Rev. 3:7

I believe the true fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy is in Christ. This is especially intriguing when we discover that "Eliakim ben Hilkiah" literally means "God raises His Son as Yahweh's share."

With that knowledge, it is even more fascinating to read the rest of God's statement through Isaiah: “And I will drive him like a peg in a firm place, and He will become a throne of glory to His Father’s house. So they will hang on Him all the glory of His Father’s house, offspring and issue, all the least of vessels, from bowls to all the jars. In that day,” (Isa. 22:23-25) declares the LORD of hosts, “the peg driven in a firm place will give way; it will even break off and fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut off, for the LORD has spoken.

What a strange picture to paint! This Man would be a peg, driven firmly in place, and on Him would be placed everything – things both glorious and commonplace, both honorable and dishonorable. On the same day that happened, the peg would give way, and the load hanging on it would be cut off.

What an amazing picture of Jesus on the cross! As Jesus was pinned, nailed, pegged to the tree, everything was put on Him. Not only the glory of His Father's house, but also the most despicable and dishonorable things. The Bible says that God... ...made Him who knew no sin {to be} sin on our behalf... 2Cor. 5:21 Christ's very body became sin judged for us! On Him was put everything: and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross... 1Pet. 2:24 ...the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. Isa. 53:6

Ultimately, the peg, the nail, the tent stake gave way and the load was cut off entirely. Jesus' body died, and our sin disappeared! Many of us have wall hangings which say, "It was not the nails that held Jesus to the cross, but His love for you and I." I believe it is much more Biblical to say that, spiritually-speaking, Jesus WAS the nails which held sin to the cross to be judged – all because of His love for you and I. This view helps us even to interpret the picture given to us in Judges chapter four. With the hammer of God's Word (Jer. 23:29) and our Messiah the Tent Peg, we can pierce the mind of our sinful man, putting him to death, and incapacitating him!"



  1. I have read many different interpretations of the nail and Eliakim. Somehow I always felt this ultimately referred to Christ. Today that feeling in my heart was vindicated. I am rejoicing today in these beautiful words!

  2. This is beautiful. I love it and I love you!

  3. I’ve come to the conclusion that my God (and your God!) is "the God of Hope." Why? Because He is the God in whom we may hang all of our hopes upon, just as Isaiah speaks of in these verses you are focusing on...

    (21 )And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. (22) And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. (23) And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house. (24) And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons [huge containers]. ~ Isaiah 22:21-24

    I especially love v23-24... I don't know if you've ever seen a nail which has been pounded into an unsure place where it would eventually fall down (and anything hanging from it would fall down with the nail, and most likely break)... Well, Jesus Christ is the opposite of this. Since He is like a nail in a sure place, we can place all of our trust and assurance and hopes in Him, knowing He will never let us fall. From the smallest child (cup) in primary nursery all the way up to Thomas S. Monson (flagons)... we all may hang our hopes in Him.

    Also, in v23... the "nail in a sure place" is a political image full of incredible power, especially if you’ve been to the Temple and take this image with you there. Anciently, if you were a king and were defeated by another king, not only would YOU lose your kingdom and position, but your entire family and household staff would fall with you. THEY depended upon YOU to remain on your throne so that THEY, too, might remain in their respective stations. Think about it. If you and I are in a position of trust, everyone else near us is hanging on our nail... they are relying on US... hanging all of their hopes on US! We want to stay in that position of trust and not let them down!

    Spiritually speaking, there is Someone holding up the weight of the “whole family and household,” and our entire exaltation and eternity is hanging in the balance. If I look to others to be my “nail in a sure place,” I will be doomed to disappointment, for inevitably I will find that my hopes are in the wrong person! If I am go to hang MY hopes on anybody, I want to pin my hopes on that Someone who is sure to be reliable and won’t let me down... Jehovah... Jesus Christ! Only HE is in the position of holding the keys of opening the door leading us back to the High King. In fact, in the scriptures He is known as the Doorkeeper, or Keeper of the Gate (see 2 Nephi 9:41), who will let me back in to the presence of the Father. I don’t ever need to worry that He will eventually be removed. Not only that, but I’ve pinned my hopes on the Someone who has an “in” with the High King! Christ will use all of His influence to get me through the door back into Heavenly Father’s presence! He’s going to make everything good for us, and will even allow me bring my entire family with me if possible... Truly in Him hangs all the glory and hope of His people!

    (And a side note: What enables Him to be that Doorkeeper? He, Himself, was nailed to a cross, and the nailing of Him to cross made him a nail in a sure place.)

    So yes! He is our God of HOPE! And it’s been reinforced to me these past few days that it is not only to the future which we look to see a fulfillment of this promise, but He is our God of Hope today... now... this very minute. This is the type of Being you and I worship! How blessed we are for our God of Hope! May we forever recognize and deeply appreciate the Precious Gift He provides us, as well as His willingness to share the sacred honor He so freely offers... that of becoming joint heirs with Him in the kingdom of His Father.

  4. When I went to the Louvre, I was amazed to find actual NAILS (usually made from copper and inscribed) which were ritually used to secure the foundations (or to secure an idol) of ancient near-eastern temples. People reading/writing/or hearing the OT read in Zechariah or Isaiah's day would have known about these nails. Here are some descriptions and links to the photos.

    Foundation Nails : Louvre,Dpt.des Antiquites Orientales, Paris, France

    Perforated stone with a coiled serpent

    This perforated stone was commissioned by Puzur-Inshushinak, a prince of the dynasty of Awan in Iran, to commemorate the erection of a monument. It is decorated in relief with a scene showing a god offering a nail before a lion, protected by a lama divinity. The object, which displays a strong Mesopotamian influence, also has two inscriptions, one in Elamite, the other in Akkadian.

    Description A commemorative stone for the foundation of a building

    This stone seems to be part of an object made in three sections. It has a central perforation, some fifteen centimeters in diameter, intended to receive a nail made of copper and cedarwood. This hole would would have been made with a wooden or metal tool, with grains of quartz used as an abrasive. This was a votive stone dedicated as part of the foundation ritual for a building. A second fragmentary relief (Sb 177) shows the hindquarters of a lion and carries an inscription in Akkadian. The broken surfaces seem both to belong to the left side of the same object, although the exact correspondence has not been established. This stone was commissioned by Puzur-Inshushak, a king of the Awan dynasty, after the decline of the Akkadian Empire, c.2100 BC.


    Foundation nail in the form of a female figurine carrying a pillow and basket on her head; a foundation tablet with inscription. Neo-Sumerian, period of king Amar-Sin, 2046-2038 BCE Bronze, 22 x 7,3 x 2,6 cm AO 3142


    Foundation nail in the form of a bull; tablet with inscription, dedicated to the goddess Inanna. Nails and tablets were buried in the foundation walls of temples.Period of king Gudea of Lagash, around 2100. Bronze, H: 22 cm AO 1371


    Figure of a god on top of a foundation nail. Such nails were buried in the foundation walls of temples, to hold a dedication tablet or because it was thought they gave stability to the walls.Period of king Ur-Bau or Gudea, around 2100 BCE. Bronze, H: 29 cm AO 311

    Rebecca Holt Stay

  5. Rebecca, Thanks so much for this additional information. I love getting the benefit of insights and knowledge shared by others.

    My one brain alone just isn't enough to enjoy and appreciate all there is to learn.