Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rebuilding the Temple: Part 2

Rebuilding the Temple 1
The rebuilding of the temple was underway, supervised by Zerubbabel and Jeshua. However the people who had occupied Judea before the Jews returned and who worshipped many false gods, did not want the temple rebuilt.
Rebuilding the Temple 2
At first they offered to help but Zerubbabel and Jeshua, knowing they did not worship God, declared, ‘You have no part with us in building a temple for our God, the God of Israel,’ The enemies of the Jews then tried to stop the building work by paying people to bully the builders and threaten them.
Rebuilding the Temple 3
As a result, the work on the temple stopped for about 16 years. Instead the Jews put their energies into building expensive houses for themselves. King Cyrus of Persia died and King Darius succeeded him. During the second year of King Darius’ reign two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, spoke messages from God urging the Jews to continue with the rebuilding work on the temple. Zerubbabel and Jeshua got the builders back to work once more.

Rebuilding the Temple 4
Immediately Tattenai, the chief official of the region and other opponents of the Jews, demanded to know who had given them permission to rebuild the temple.
Rebuilding the Temple 5
They wrote a letter to Darius reporting what was going on and listed the names of the Jews involved in the work.
Rebuilding the Temple 6
While they were waiting for the reply the Jews kept working. They wrote to Darius explaining that King Cyrus had given them permission to rebuild and had returned the gold and silver objects the Babylonians had taken from the Temple.

Rebuilding the Temple 7
King Darius ordered that a search be made of the records to see what King Cyrus had decreed.
Rebuilding the Temple 9
King Darius immediately gave orders to Tattenai, the chief official of the region, not to stop the temple being built and to keep the enemies of the Jews away from the building site. Furthermore, the work on the temple was to be paid from the taxes raised in the region. The priests were to be given animals for sacrifice and wheat, salt, wine and oil. Anyone who disobeyed this order, or tried to change this law, would be hanged.
Rebuilding the Temple 10
When the ruling was announced, the enemies of the Jews had no choice but to obey. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah spoke words of encouragement and the work continued without opposition.

Rebuilding the Temple 11
In the sixth year of the reign of King Darius the temple was finished. The people gathered for a special opening ceremony.
Rebuilding the Temple 12
It was a happy occasion with sacrifices made for the sins of the people. Priests were appointed to look after the Temple and its work. The Passover was celebrated with great joy.

Rebuilding the Temple: Part 2
The Temple is rebuilt despite opposition and delays.
Ezra 4-6

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