Zerubbabel – Out of Babylon (Part 1)
This message is about the subject of deliverance from any kind of captivity—whether it be physical sickness, addictions of any kind including sexual addictions, sin, sorrow and grief, emotional issues, financial problems, depression, demonic oppression, or whatever it is that has been keeping you in captivity. God wants us to be free from bondages and loosed from every infirmity.
The Lion of Judah (Jesus Christ) breaks every chain and sets the prisoners free!
He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed! (John 8:36). Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17).
The true story of Zerubbabel and the return from exile, shows us God’s faithfulness and sovereignty in our lives.
Zerubbabel was the first leader to lead the Jewish exiles out of Babylon back to Jerusalem. The date is approximately around 538-536 B.C. Seventy years had passed following the first siege of Jerusalem, where captives were taken to Babylon.
Zerubbabel was governor of Judah, and he is mentioned primarily in Haggai, Ezra and Zechariah. He is also referred to by the name Shezbazzar, and is the son of Shealtiel (or the son of Pedaiah). One school of thought is that Shealtiel died, leaving a widow, and his brother Pedaiah married her (Levirate marriage) to raise up a seed for Shealtiel. Zerubbabel is in the royal lineage of Jesus Christ.
Zerubbabel was born in captivity. He was born after the kingdom of Judah was taken into exile. Zerubbabel’s name means: “seed of Babylon” or “born in Babylon”. He was appointed as prince of Judah. Zerubbabel was probably in the king’s service, as he was given the name Shezbazzar, and granted favor by King Cyrus to lead the first group of exiles back to Jerusalem and begin to restore the temple.
God had moved upon the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia, to allow the Jews to return to their homeland. He gave them back the gold and silver articles that had been stolen from the temple, and furnished them with everything they needed to begin rebuilding the temple. This was prophesied by Isaiah. Isaiah was so precise in this prophecy that even Cyrus’ name was mentioned centuries before he was even born. Isaiah 44:28 says, Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” and to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.’”
Jeremiah prophesied that the captivity would last for seventy years, and then the Jews would return to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 25:11-12 and Jeremiah 29:10-14).
Zerubbabel led out approximately 50,000 people (mostly of who were Levites, musicians, and singers). Jeshua, the high priest, assisted Zerubbabel in the mission of leading the exiles back to Jerusalem and rebuilding the temple. The first thing they set out to do was to rebuild the Altar to the Lord and restore the daily sacrifices. The feasts were re-instituted as well. Worship was restored.
Work on rebuilding the foundation of the temple began. They got only so far, and then were faced with opposition from enemies. Their enemies hired counselors against them, and even sent false accusatory letters to King Ahasuerus and King Artaxerxes, saying that the Jews had formed a rebellion and needed to be stopped. The king ordered that all work on the temple be halted.
Approximately 16-17 years elapsed with the work on the foundation of the temple unfinished and being delayed. In the meantime, the people were busy building costly homes for themselves. It wasn’t that God didn’t want His people having nice homes, it’s just that their priorities were out of order.
The people had gone through so much fierce opposition and intimidation from the enemy, and through such long years of delays and unfulfilled promises, that they had fallen into a spiritual slumber. They were convinced in their minds that the promise of them restoring the temple was “miles or years out there in the distant future”. So therefore, they focused their task on building their own homes.
In Haggai, the prophet Haggai confronted Zerubbabel and Jeshua the high priest, saying in Haggai 1:1-8: “This people says, ‘The time has not yet come, the time that the Lord’s House should be rebuilt.’ But is it time for you to dwell in your paneled houses while My House lies in ruins? Now therefore, thus says the LORD of Hosts: Consider your ways!
You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough. You drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes. Thus says the LORD of Hosts: Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified, says the LORD.”
Because the people’s priorities were out of proper order, and their focus had been on building their own homes while God’s House was in ruins, the Lord had allowed a drought to come on the land—a famine of food, wine, oil and fruit.
Zerubbabel and Jeshua’s spirits were refreshed and re-activated to action after hearing the prophetic word of the Lord. They immediately obeyed God’s Voice, and resumed rebuilding the temple.
Again, enemy opposition came. This time Zerubbabel and Jeshua did not shrink back. When their opponents questioned their authority to rebuild the temple, Zerubbabel told them that they had been given authority by King Cyrus, and would not stop rebuilding until the work was finished.
Their opponents wrote a letter to King Darius of Babylon to request that a search be made in the archives for the original scroll written and signed by King Cyrus, granting authority for Zerubbabel and the Jews to rebuild the temple. The scroll was found. Darius issued a decree that no one was to hinder the work of the temple. And if anyone did interfere, they should die. Furthermore, King Darius ordered that the Jews be furnished with whatever supplies they needed.
The temple foundation was finished in the 6th year of King Darius, and was rededicated unto the Lord. The rededication was accompanied by great celebration, and concluded with the Passover Feast.
About 80 years later, Ezra led the second group of exiles to Jerusalem, with Nehemiah leading out the third group shortly after that. Ezra and Nehemiah’s task focused on rebuilding the walls and gates, finishing the rebuilding of the temple, and re-establishing Moses’ law to the people.
Within the literal events that happened during this period of approximately 20 years (from the first exodus out of Babylon led by Zerubbabel to the finishing of the temple foundation), there is spiritual and prophetic application to our lives.
Babylon is still a literal place. Babylon, in the figurative and spiritual sense, is a prophetic picture of places of confusion in our lives. The definition of Babylon means “confusion”. And also figurative of areas of our lives where we have been held in captivity.
Babylon also speaks of idolatry, witchcraft, sorcery, immorality, perversion, and anti-Christ spirits and agendas seeking to slowly infiltrate our society and lives—slowly desensitizing us to the sin and corruption around us.
Spiritual Zerubbabel’s are those who have lived in captivity and confusion, but God has delivered them out, and anointed them to lead others out to freedom too.
The temple represents our life (we are the temple of the Holy Ghost according to 1 Corinthians 6:19). The temple also speaks of the House of the Lord (the church and kingdom of God).
The opponents represents the enemy of our souls—Satan and his demons—who are continually seeking to hinder, intimidate, destroy and stop God’s plans from coming to fruition. The enemy also uses people to oppose us.
Jerusalem signifies the work and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Jerusalem is:
- the place of God’s presence, glory and anointing
- the place of worship and beauty
- the place of holiness unto the Lord
- the place of repentance from sin (offering up blood sacrifices)
- the place of renewed fellowship and renewed passion for the Lord
- the place of hearing God’s voice
- the place of the Lord’s favor and commanded blessing
- the place of peace and rest
- the place of unity
- the place of provision and prosperity
- the place of joy unspeakable and full of glory
- the place of freedom from captivity
- the place of healing and restoration.
Jerusalem always speaks of God’s Throne headquarters and of worshipping the Lord. It’s the place of the Shekinah glory.
In Part 2 of this message, I will discuss the spiritual and prophetic application to our lives based on the true events that Zerubbabel and the exiles encountered in leaving Babylon and rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem.
Also, the prophetic words spoken by Haggai and Zechariah, addressed to Zerubbabel and Jeshua the high priest, applies to our lives today. “He who has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says” through those prophecies.
May you be blessed and encouraged today.
Psalm 126 When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, “The Lord hath done great things for them. The LORD hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the South. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. KJV