Day 268: Rebuilding the Temple

Ezra 3:7-13 The work of rebuilding the Temple got underway under the supervision of the Levites. The process had a ritualistic tone: As the foundation was laid, the priests and Levites sang hymns in praise of God for his steadfast love. (CCC 214, 220, 1191)

Ch 4:1-24 Following the Babylonian Exile, some of the Samaritans attempted to help rebuild the Temple but were turned away on account of their pagan practices.

The Book of Zechariah

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(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Zechariah 1-14 Zechariah was a key figure during the time when the exiled Jews returned from Babylon in the late sixth century BC. Along with Ezra and Haggai, he helped in the effort to rebuild the Temple and to restore Israel to its former glory both as a people and as a nation. The first eight chapters revolve around this historic period, while the final six chapters look ahead to the Messiah and the hope that the Kingdom of God would be established on earth.

Ch 1:1-6 Zechariah’s first prophecy is a call to conversion, noting that the previous generation did not heed the prophets’ warnings and so were exiled and their Temple destroyed. (CCC 1430)

Ch 1:7-17 In the first of eight visions, the Lord indicated that he would provide help for the Temple project and would defend Judah against its enemies. The horsemen were prepared to wage war in defense of Jerusalem. Four horsemen and other apocalyptic symbols reappear in the Book of Revelation.

Ch 1:8-11 The four horsemen of Zechariah’s vision are angels, who are personal, spiritual beings created by God. In Scripture, they often serve as God’s messengers (hence “angel,” from the Greek angelos, meaning “messenger”). IN addition, every person is placed in the care of a specific angel, referred to as a “guardian angel.” (CCC 336)

Ch 1:18-21 The four horns may represent the four compass directions, indicating the nations from every side that had been antagonistic to Judah and who were now targets of God’s wrath.

Ch 2:1-13 The New Jerusalem would not have walls because its capacity was without limit. No walls were necessary as a line of defense because God himself would provide protection for his people.

Daughter of Zion: The term “daughter of” normally personifies a place, in this case Jerusalem, but here it serves also as a type of Mary (TYPOLOGY!!). The exhortation to “rejoice” (sometimes translated to “Hail!”) is echoed in the words of the angel to her at the Annunciation, where she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus the Messiah. (CCC 722) 

Ch 2:10-13 These verses may be read at Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Ch 2:13 The name of God is to be used only in praise, blessing, and adoration-in other words, reverent prayer. It is not to be used lightly or abused. Even within our thoughts and the deep recesses of our hearts, the name of the Lord must be maintained in unspoken “loving adoration.” (CCC 2143)

Ch 3:1-9 Joshua was the high priest who would restore the Temple priesthood upon returning from exile. Ritual purification of the people was predicated on a purified high priest; therefore, God cleansed Joshua first so that he might in turn purify all of Judah to “remove the guilt of this land in a single day” (3:9). St. Ambrose saw Joshua as a type of Christ (TYPOLOGY!!): Joshua’s soiled garments symbolized Christ, who took upon himself the sins of the world, and Joshua’s raiment in clean garments prefigured the victory of the Resurrection over the stain of sin.

Ch 3:8-9 The Branch: The immediate reference is to Zerubbabel, who was a descendant of David and, thus, a part of the Davidic “branch” from which would come the Messiah. The spiritual renewal of the priesthood would prepare the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, the Savior. The prophet Isaiah also spoke of the Messiah as a direct descendant of King David: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord” (Is 11:1-2).

Stone with seven facets: These seven facets prefigure Christ, who is perfect wisdom and knowledge. Christ compared himself to a stone: the stone rejected by the builders that would become the cornerstone of the building (cf. Mt 21:42). (CCC 552, 712, 756)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Haggai and Zechariah

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Key Event 49: Zerubbabel Rebuilds the Temple (Ezra 3-6)

After King Cyrus of Persia defeats Babylon, he allows the Jews to return from exile.  Zerubbabel, the last Davidic descendant mentioned in the Old Testament, plays a key role in leading the return and rebuilding the Temple, a project finally completed in 515 BC.

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you so much. Thank you for your Word, as always Lord God. Thank you for your Spirit that not only inspired your Word, but also inspires us in reading. We ask that you please, Lord, clear from our minds anything that obstructs clear understanding. Anything that makes it difficult for us to not only perceive and understand, but also to receive and to embrace your Word which is your gift to us. May we praise you this day and every day. And may everything we are and everything we do, everything we have belong to you and give you glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”