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What was Zerubbabelís temple/the second temple?

Zerubbabelís temple, second temple

Question: "What was Zerubbabelís temple/the second temple?"

Answer:
In 538 B.C., Zerubbabel was part of the first wave of Jewish captives to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-2). The Persian king appointed Zerubbabel as governor of Judah (Haggai 1:1), and right away he began rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem with the help of Joshua, the high priest (Ezra 3:2-3, 8). It had been 70 years since the destruction of Solomonís temple, also known as the first temple, by the Babylonians in 587 B.C. (2 Kings 25:8-10).

It took Zerubbabel two years to rebuild the foundation of the temple. Then construction was delayed by Samaritan settlers whose friendly overtures masked a hidden hostility (Ezra 4:1-5). As a result of the opposition to the temple construction, Persia withdrew support for the project for 17 years (Ezra 4:21).

The temple had remained unfinished long enough. Finally, God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage and support Zerubbabel (Ezra 5:1-2), and the work resumed. Four years later, in 515 B.C., the temple was completed and dedicated with great fanfare (Ezra 6:16). It was also celebrated by the observance of the Passover (Ezra 6:19). Itís interesting that Zerubbabel is never mentioned in connection with the dedication ceremonies, nor is his name mentioned again after Ezra 5:1. For this reason, Zerubbabelís temple is also referred to simply as the ďsecond temple.Ē

It is obvious that the Lord God was pleased with Zerubbabelís efforts not only in returning the captives to Jerusalem, but in reestablishing the temple worship (Ezra 3:10). With Godís prompting, Haggai gave Zerubbabel a special blessing: ďOn 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 hostsĒ (Haggai 2:23).

As the temple was being rebuilt, there was a group of Jews in Jerusalem who were rather disappointed. Older Jews who could recall the grandeur of the first temple regarded Zerubbabelís temple as a poor substitute for the original. To their minds, it did not even begin to compare with the splendor of Solomonís temple. It was true that Zerubbabelís temple was built on a smaller scale and with much fewer resources than Solomonís temple had been. Also, Solomonís temple had housed the Ark of the Covenant, had witnessed fire from heaven, and had been filled with the Shekinah. Still, Haggai prophesied that this second temple would one day have a magnificence to outshine the glory of the first temple (Haggai 2:3-9). Haggaiís word was fulfilled 500 years later when Jesus Christ entered the temple (Luke 2:22, 46; 19:45). Zerubbabelís temple was not as outwardly impressive as Solomonís, but it had a greater glory: the Messiah Himself walked the courts of the temple Zerubbabel helped build.

Recommended Resources: Bible Answers for Almost all Your Questions by Elmer Towns and Logos Bible Software.


Related Topics:

What is the meaning and significance of the Temple Mount?

What was Solomon's temple, the first temple? How many temples were there?

Was it Godís desire for Israel to worship Him in a temple in Jerusalem?

What is the Dome of the Rock?

What was Herodís temple / the third temple?



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What was Zerubbabelís temple/the second temple?