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  The Great Bible Story #82
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Rebuilding the temple

Jacob Ninan
Fulfilling the word spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, after seventy years of exile for Judah in Babylon, God stirred up the spirit of Cyrus the king of Persia during his first year of reign. This was the same Cyrus who was named in the prophecy of Isaiah as a servant whom God would raise up to fulfil His purposes. Cyrus declared that God had given him the task of rebuilding His temple in Jerusalem. So he asked every one of the people of God to leave for Jerusalem to carry out this task, taking gold, silver, cattle and other valuable things, along with the freewill offerings given by the people for this. He gave them the articles of the temple which Nebuchadnezzar had brought away to Babylon. This started the return of the people of Judah from their exile to Jerusalem.

Jeshua and his brothers the priests, and Zerubbabel and his brothers got together and built the altar of the God of Israel to offer burnt offerings on it. They began to offer burnt offerings on it twice a day. They also celebrated the feast of booths. After this they gave money to masons and carpenters for laying the foundations of the temple, getting cedar wood from Lebanon through the sea, with the support of King Cyrus. After the foundation was ready, Jeshua, Zerubbabel and others offered prayers of thanksgiving to God for the restoration. Some of the older people there who had seen the earlier temple wept loudly seeing this new foundation, mixing their sound with others who were shouting for joy.

When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the Jews were rebuilding their temple, they tried their best to obstruct and discourage them. This went on during the reign of Cyrus and Darius. At last they wrote a letter of complaint to the king saying that the Jews were building the temple in order to rebel against him. When the king read this, he sent an order stopping the work immediately. But the prophets of God encouraged the people to build again. When Tattenai the governor asked them how they could do it in spite of the order from the king, they replied that they had permission from King Cyrus. King Darius made a search in the archives and found the order there. So he instructed Tattenai to give full support for the building of the temple.

When the temple was finally ready, the Jews offered many sacrifices of thanksgiving, and they also celebrated the Passover after many years.


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