The Temple area which the returning (from captivity) Jews located was essentially the remains of the Temple of Solomon, built hundreds of years earlier (500 years, in round numbers).
Ezra 3:1-7 has already told us about the rebuilding of the altar. (Thereby establishing a place for worship, for atoning bloodshed, in accordance to God’s Word, Instructions.)
Now comes the rebuilding of the Temple proper.
Ezra 3:8 relates the timeline: “Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, IN THE SECOND MONTH, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, TO SET FORWARD THE WORK OF THE HOUSE OF THE LORD.”
Verse 10 gives the “spirit” of this great construction (re-construction) process! “And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with TRUMPETS, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with CYMBALS, to PRAISE the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.” Ezra 3:10
Victory, exaltation of the dear Lord!
Both the verses I have just used have “hints” in them about that first building of the Temple, long ago!
Notice which month the construction began. “In the second month” of the year. Note now which month marked the beginning of building Solomon’s grand Temple. 1 Kings 6:1 … “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is THE SECOND MONTH, that he began to build the house of the LORD.”
Further note that Ezra 3:10 (just quoted above) refers to King David, his great spirit of praise, “the sweet Psalmist of Israel.” See 2 Samuel 23:1 where David is given that title!
My “point” today …
Everything Zerubbabel and his helpers did was based on precedent! They built during those pivotal days … with an eye to the past! One writer said, “continuity with the past was continually being established.”
Doing today’s WORK with the pattern of God’s PAST ACTS in mind!
Still, in other words, walking in the “old paths!”
What a thought for us who serve the Lord in these last days.
I should preach night after night (verse after verse, too) with old Alexander Maclaren and W. A. Criswell and Matthew Henry (and a host of others expositors) in my “rear view mirror!”
Preach with the spirit and fervor of Dr. Oliver Greene and Dwight Moody and Billy Sunday!
Serving God remembering those of yesteryear who did so faithfully and without compromise!
“Continuity with the past!”
By the way, this introduces the idea of reading the biographies of those great men and women, some of whom gave their lives serving Jesus.
Proverbs 13:20 does clearly say: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise.” Yes, read their life stories. Learn how they thought and acted and worshipped! Is this not “walking with them,” via literature? This is surely the very essence of Hebrews 11:4, “they being dead yet speak.” Then … let us listen!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell