The Temple Was Completed
Ezra 4:1-7; 5:1-5; 6:1-22
“I will give them one heart and put a new spirit within them.” Ezekiel 11:19
Some time after the temple’s foundation was laid, the work stopped. With the encouragement of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, God’s people resumed the work of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. Approximately 15 years had passed without progress.
At this time, Darius was king of Persia. The Persian Empire was vast, so Darius appointed governors over the provinces. A man named Tattenai watched over the province that included the land of Judah.
Tattenai noticed the work of God’s people, and he was concerned. He sent a letter to King Darius. “Is this allowed?” he asked. “The people say that King Cyrus said they could rebuild the temple and the city. Please investigate this matter.”
King Darius did investigate, and Cyrus’s decree was located in the Babylonian records. Darius instructed Tattenai to allow the people to rebuild the temple and the city. God had turned the heart of the king for His people’s favor. (See Prov. 21:1; Ezra 6:22.) The people completed the temple. They dedicated it joyfully and observed the Passover.
God declared in Haggai 2:9 that the glory of this second temple would be greater than the first. This prophecy was fulfilled by the presence of the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus said that He is greater than the temple. (Matt. 12:6)
God’s people rebuilt the temple so they would have a place to worship God. Years later, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be with His people. Now God dwells not in the temple, but directly with His people. Because of Jesus, we don’t need a temple anymore.
Help your kids see that in Christ, we find the substance of which the temple was a shadow. The Lord was not confined to a building, yet deity lives fully in Christ. (See Col. 2:9.) Jesus is our High Priest. He entered the most holy place for us. (Heb. 6:19-20) The priest offered the blood of animals, but Christ offered His own blood once and for all. (Heb. 9:25-26) He gives us access to the throne of grace. (Heb. 10:19-22)
Check this session’s Activity Page and Big Picture Card as well as the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.
KEY PASSAGE: Daniel 2:20
BIG PICTURE QUESTION:
- How can we obey God? We trust God to help us obey Him.
BIBLE STORY: THE TEMPLE WAS COMPLETED
- God’s people stopped rebuilding the temple.
- God told His people to finish the temple.
- The new king said to let God’s people finish the temple and to give them anything they need.
- God helped His people rebuild the temple.
FAMILY DISCUSSION STARTERS:
- How did God help His people rebuild the temple?
- Why do you think God wanted His people to finish the temple?
- Where can we worship God now that we do not need a temple? Name specific places.
- Is there a task that needs to be completed in your home? Work together as a family to finish it.
- Gather with friends and neighbors to celebrate a time of worship in a nontraditional location.
NEXT WEEK: Esther Became Queen