Advent 2023 - Title

And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,” – Matthew 1:12

After 70 years of Judah’s captivity, the nation of Babylon fell to the hands of the Persians. During the following years, a remnant from Judah were allowed to return to their homeland and began to rebuild the temple of God and the walls that surrounded the city of Jerusalem. We read about this remnant’s return in the book of Ezra-Nehemiah.

One of those who returned from exile was Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, grandson of Jechoniah. In Haggai’s prophecy to Judah, Zerubbabel is referred to as the governor of Judah (Hag. 1:1, 14). Even this title, shows how far the great kingdom of Judah had fallen – they no longer had a king, for they had no kingdom – the kingly line was reduced to a loose governing by the royal family.

However, Zerubbabel showed great faithfulness to the Lord, working to rebuild the temple along with the remnant of God’s people who returned with him and Joshua, the high priest. Through Haggai, God declared that His covenant faithfulness remained with His people whom He brought out of Egypt and that His Spirit was with them (Hag. 2:4-5). The Lord promised Zerubbabel that He would make him like a signet ring that He had chosen (Hag. 2:23). This overturns the word spoken to Jechoniah (Zerubbabel’s grandfather) who was as a signet ring that was torn off God’s right hand (Jer. 22:24). How incredible is this – the kingdom that had been torn away from Judah was now being restored. The Lord had brought restoration to His people who were in exile and reinstated His promise to David to establish a permanent kingly line through him.

Now, the restoration that Zerubbabel and the other exiles experienced in the days of Ezra-Nehemiah was but a shadow of the true restoration that will one day come – the day when our King Jesus will return to bring about the fullness of His Kingdom in the New Heavens and the New Earth. A greater peace is coming. A greater restoration is coming - inaugurated by the life, death, and resurrection of the True King from David’s line, Jesus Christ.

  • Read Ezra 3:8-13. Why did some of the returning exiles weep over the rebuilding of the temple? How does God’s promise in Haggai 2:1-9 reassure those who mourned over the rebuilt temple?
  • Why is it important to recognize that Judah’s restoration under Ezra, Nehemiah, & Zerubbabel was still just a shadow of the true restoration that was to come?