Hey BridgeKids Families!
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.
Open your Bibles to Ezra 4:1-7; 5:1-5; 6:1-22. If you have younger kids you can use a story Bible to read it with them. Here you will read about how 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)
- Why did the people stop working on the temple for a while? (Enemies were opposing them, Ezra 4:23-24)
- When did the people begin working again? (after Haggai and Zechariah encouraged them, Ezra 5:1-2)
- Who wrote a letter to King Darius about the temple construction? (Tattenai, a governor over the land of Judah; Ezra 5:6)
- What did the king’s letter reveal? (Cyrus wanted the temple to be completed. Darius then supported the rebuilding of the temple; Ezra 6:1-8)
- What did God’s people do after completing the temple? (praised God, offered sacrifices, and celebrated the Passover; Ezra 6:13-22)