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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 Gods 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 Gods 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, Shealtiels 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 brothers widow and, therefore, Zerubbabel became Shealtiels 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 Gods 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 Gods 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 Joshuas being deceived by the Gibeonites 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. Zerubbabels 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 Gods 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 Zerubbabels 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 Gods 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 Gods will. Zerubabbel by the power of the Holy Spirit accomplished Gods will and purpose for the salvation of His people in that time. But more importantly, ....
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