Zerubabbel as a Messianic Figure Essay

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Zerubabbel as a Messianic Figure

Zerubabbel as a Messianic figure.
As my text, I am using the book of Haggai 2:23: ďIn 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.Ē Thus, the
messianic promise was passed onto Zerubbabel, the man that God entrusted to be the
governor of Godís 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
Godís 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, Shealtielísí 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
brotherís widow and, therefore, Zerubbabel became Shealtielís 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 Godís 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 Godís 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 Joshuaís being deceived by the
Gibeoniteís 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. Zerubbabelís 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 Godís 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: ďnot 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!Ē
(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

Just as Zerubbabelís 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 Godís 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 Godís will. Zerubabbel by the power of the Holy Spirit accomplished
Godís will and purpose for the salvation of His people in that time. But more
importantly, what was accomplished pointed to a future time when the greater son of David,
the Messiah Jesus would come to the Temple.

It is, also, important to understand that the fourth oracle by Haggai in 2:20-33 was
addressed to Zerubabbel under the Davidic covenant. As previously noted, he was a
descendant of the line of David through Jehoiachin. In the book of Jeremiah, God had
earlier likened Jehoiachin to a signet ring on His hand that He would be pulled off and
discarded (Jer 22:24-25). In Haggai, God uses the same imagery of the signet ring,
however He reverses it, this time describing Zerubbabel, a descendant of Jehoiachin, as a
valued signet ring on the hand of God. This confirms that God had reaffirmed the Davidic
covenant with the line of David.

Zerubbabel is, now, shown to be one of the Davidic covenant whoís Godís wrath is
non-longer upon. He becomes a legal substitution for a king, in order to perform a work
under the Law that Christ would, later, perform under Grace. For Zerubbabel it was the
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