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Zerubabbel As Man From God Essay, Research Paper

Zerubabbel as a Messianic figure. As my text, I am using the book of Haggai

2:23: ?In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel,,

my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and will make thee as a

signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts.? Thus, the messianic

promise was passed onto Zerubbabel, the man that God entrusted to be the

governor of God?s people upon their return to Israel, and with the rebuilding

of the Temple at Jerusalem. Zerubbabel was a leader, a man of God, and a

faithful servant to God?s will. Zerubbabel was a messianic figure. This can be

seen in a series of comparisons and contrast to Christ and His work. To begin,

Zerubbabel was the son of Shealtiel and the grandson of Jehoiachin this is

referenced in Ezra 3:2; and Matt 1:12). In I Chronicles 3:19 he is said to be

the son of Pedaiah, Shealtiel?s? brother. The explanation for this apparent

discrepancy is very likely that Shealtiel died without having a son; and either

his nephew was his legal heir and therefore called his son (reference here to

Exod 2:10), or else; Pedaiah married his brother?s widow and, therefore,

Zerubbabel became Shealtiel?s son by levirate law as can be referenced in Deut

25:5-10. In 1 Chronicles 3:17-19, Zerubabbel is listed as the heir to the throne

of Judah. He is also listed in the genealogy of Christ Jesus in Matt 1:14, and

Luke 3:27. He is, therefore, by linage of the House of David, and under the

Davidic covenant. Zerubabbel lived in exile in Babylonia with the his fellow

Israelites. However, God reigns Sovereign over creation, including the nations

of the world. As part of God?s process to return His people to the Judah, God

delivered the Babylonian empire into the hands of Cyrus the Persian, who became

after his conquest of Babylonia became know as Cyrus the Great. God elevated

Cyrus to rule over the middle-eastern world of the time. Then, God worked the

heart of Cyrus to command Zerubbabel to return with a company of Israelites to

the, now, colony of the former kingdom of Judah. Cyrus, also, appointed

Zerubabbel governor of the colony (Ezra 1:8, 11; 5:14). Zerubabbel lead this

first contingent, numbering over 42,000 back to Jerusalem. Nothing is revealed

about the trip itself, except it can be induced that it took about four months

to make the journey. When they first reached Jerusalem, they set up the altar of

burnt offerings, then they proceeded to lay the foundation of the new temple,

thus beginning the task of re-establishing the Temple as a symbol of God?s

covenant presence with His people. However, adversaries of the Jews came from

Samaria and offered to help Zerubabbel and the Jews to rebuild the Temple. These

adversaries were people brought to Samaria by the Assyrian kings before the

exile of Judah and Benjamin to Babylonia. But Zerubbabel and the other leaders

refused to accept their help as seen in Ezra 4. Zerubbabel did not accept the

offer of these foreign people, in contrast to Joshua?s being deceived by the

Gibeonite?s when he brought the Israelites into the land (Joshua 9:27). Later,

however, during the reign Artaxerxes, opponents of the Jews managed to succeed

in stopping the work on the Temple (refer to Ezra 4:6-24). However, during the

reign of Darius, the work on the temple resumed and was completed. A great

celebration was held to dedicate the new Temple as seen in Ezra 6:16-22. Thus

the work of Zerubabbel was completed; he had brought the first returnees back to

Jerusalem, and under his direction the Temple was rebuilt. It is not known how

Zerubabbel died. Zerubabbel was never made king of Judah; but he was the crown

prince next in line to the throne with no sitting as king. For all purposes, he

did perform the legal sanctioned role of ruler over the people of God, and

administrator of the land. Zerubabbel took charge and lead his people out of the

bondage that had been Babylonia, just as Moses had lead the Israelites out of

bondage in Egypt. Then, like Joshua, Zerubbabel lead the people into the

promised land. Like David, Zerubbabel gathered the materials for the

construction of the Temple. And then, like Solomon, Zerubbabel built a Temple

for God in Jerusalem. Zerubbabel?s performed no miracles like those God

performed through Moses, and he was not a general of victorious armies like

Joshua, and he is not called a man after God?s own heart like David was

called, and neither did he possess the wisdom of Solomon; however, Zerubbabel

did manage to perform the all of the same major objectives that Moses, Joshua,

David, and Solomon had performed individually. Also, where they had failed in

their personal lives, Zerubbabel did not. But it was not Zerubbabel who

accomplished these things, it was the Holy Spirit of God working through him.

The Word of God to Zerubbabel was this: ?not by might nor by power, but by my

Spirit, says the Lord Almighty. What are you, O might mountain? Before

Zerubbabel you will become level ground. The he will bring out the capstone to

shouts of God bless it! God bless it!? (Zechariah 4:6-7). Zerubbabel succeeded

because he did not rely on his one human nature, neither did he proceed down a

way that he personally thought was right. Instead, Zerubbabel let the Holy

Spirit work though him, just as Christ did during His work on earth. Just as

Zerubbabel?s work was drawn out, and involved enemies who sought to destroy

the Temple work. The same was true for Christ, who initially was accepted and in

favor with the people, later however, many of them turn away from Christ and His

message. Zerubbabel became disillusioned by the difficulty and struggles that

confronted him, it was only by the Spirit of God that he was able to accomplish

his task, Zerubbabel also had the support and help of the High Priest Jeshua,

the elders and others among the people. Christ, on the other hand, found that

all the people, including His closest disciples, turned away from him when He

laid the foundation for the new Temple of God. However, like Zerubbabel, Christ

accomplished his task by the power of the Holy Spirit. In both cases, it was the

will of God that prevailed by the power of His Holy Spirit, through servants who

yielded their will to His. It should also be noted that Zerubbabel lead God?s

people back to take possession of the land. Christ, also, will lead the saints

back to take possession of the land during His millennium reign (refer to Rev 19

and 20). Upon completion of the Temple the people became one in their dedication

of both themselves and the Temple, to God?s will. Zerubabbel by the power of

the Holy Spirit accomplished God?s will and purpose for the salvation of His

people in that time. But more importantly, what was accomplished pointed to a

future time when the greater son of David, the Messiah Jesus would come to the

Temple. It is, also, important to understand that the fourth oracle by Haggai in

2:20-33 was addressed to Zerubabbel under the Davidic covenant. As previously

noted, he was a descendant of the line of David through Jehoiachin. In the book

of Jeremiah, God had earlier likened Jehoiachin to a signet ring on His hand

that He would be pulled off and discarded (Jer 22:24-25). In Haggai, God uses

the same imagery of the signet ring, however He reverses it, this time

describing Zerubbabel, a descendant of Jehoiachin, as a valued signet ring on

the hand of God. This confirms that God had reaffirmed the Davidic covenant with

the line of David. Zerubbabel is, now, shown to be one of the Davidic covenant

who?s God?s wrath is non-longer upon. He becomes a legal substitution for a

king, in order to perform a work under the Law that Christ would, later, perform

under Grace. For Zerubbabel it was the rebuilding of the Temple for God to dwell

in, a place for God?s people to come and seek forgiveness through sacrifice.

Zerubbabel, however, rebuild a new Temple, much different from the type and kind

that Solomon had constructed in all of its earthly glory. But Solomon?s glory

failed because his human nature did not keep focus on God. This was the same

loose of focus that the first ruler that God placed in the world had: Adam. Adam

lost the communion of heart with God. Christ would restore that ability for all

people to have that communion by building a new Temple in the hearts of those

who accepted God?s Grace, thus making it each born-again person a living

Temple that God indwells. This new Temple of the human heart being born-again

was as radically different from Zerubbabel?s Temple. The parallels are that

each, Zerubbabel in his work of restoring the physical Temple to the people, and

Christ in his work of restoring the heart to God, were performing Messianic

functions in God?s process to restore man to Himself. Both were endued and

acted by the power of the Holy Spirit, with Zerubbabel?s work pointing toward

Christ. Likewise, Zerubbabel?s Temple was quite different from Solomon?s

Temple. Zerubbabel?s Temple lacked the grandeur of the one build by Solomon;

the land, also, was far less glorious than in the days of Solomon when the first

Temple was built. There were meager resources, causing some of the people to

fail to realize that God was not interested in the grand scale of the Temple,

but rather in the hearts of men. Many of the people, also, failed to realize

this same thing when Christ came. The result was that while the Jewish nation

rejected Christ, the gentile nations accepted Him. Also, it is without saying

that Haggai, Zechariah, and their contemporaries desired to have the gentile

domination ended in Jerusalem, and Davidic rule restored in their own time;

however, Zerubbabel would not be this Davidic king. Instead, he would point

forward to an eschatological day when God would shake the heavens and the earth

as stated in Haggai 2:6-7, 21. Gentile domination, basically, remained upon the

land, and was still in control when Christ came. The reason was that in Christ

time, just as in Zerubbabel?s time, God used the gentiles to keep the

hard-heartedness and stiff-neckness of the Israelites under control. The people

had proven to God time and time again during their history that they could not

be trusted to maintain their responsibility to keep the Temple and their

covenant unless their was physical control over them. God chose to use a gentile

sword to keep them in under control until His purpose and will was fulfilled

with Christ?s work on the Cross. Zerubabbel?s administration as a Davidic

prince was part of the process to prepare the Jewish nation for the coming of

the true Messiah. Zerubbabel?s rebuilding of the Temple was only a provisional

step in anticipation of the events to come. It is in approaching the New

Testament that the Zerubabbel?s work reaches forth in time. The visible

presence of God would not, finally, appear in the second Temple until Jesus came

and as is described in John 1:14, ? The Word became flesh and made his

dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who

came from the Father, full of grace and truth.? In fulfillment of God?s plan

for humanity, the wealth of nations came to Jerusalem in the gifts of the

gentile wisemen (Matt 2:1-12). The new Temple of Christ was to be made of living

stones, Jews and Gentile alike (1 Cor 3:16-17; 1 Peter 2: 4-10). Zerubbabel

rebuilt the earthly temple with earthly stones, and it was a Temple that no

gentile could help reconstruct or enter into the congregation to worship God.

Christ kingdom, however, would be a new kingdom, one that transcends the world

and rules over all things. Zerubbabel administered an earthly realm that was

ruled over by a gentile ruler, who himself could not enter into worship with the

congregation in the Temple that Zerubbabel had built, but limited only to the

outer court. Yet, just as gentile?s brought their wealth to Christ, symbolic

of the wisemen, so did the gentile ruler who sent Zerubbabel to rebuild the

Temple supply the wealth of the nations for construction. Both Christ and

Zerubbabel introduced the Temple of God to the nations, each performing their

own task, with Zerubbabel?s work pointing toward Christ. The final end of the

process is spoken of in Rev 21, with all things being only a step toward the

consummation of all things, which will be made new again, and the dwelling of

God will be with men. The election of Zerubbabel to go and rebuild the Temple

was tied to more than the inauguration of a Davidic prince; it can be likened to

Christ coming and rebuilding the relationship structure between God with man.

The work of each prefigures a cataclysmic change in the cosmos (Haggai 2:6-7,

21-22). The writer of Hebrews views this eschatological age as already having

been inaugurated in the person of Christ (Heb 12:26-29). In closing, the Temple

that Zerubbabel rebuilt was only for the remnant that God had chosen to

reestablish in the land. The work of Zerubbabel through the Holy Spirit made it

possible for those who?s hearts were bent toward God to come back to Him and

have a Temple to worship in. More notably, the work of Christ was to allow all

who want God to be able to have Him live within their heart, and they themselves

be a living Temple, and to have an intimate relationship with God.

Unfortunately, just as in Zerubbabel?s time, there will be only a remnant of

people, out of all of humanity, who?s heart?s will turn to God for His

salvation.

33c


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