47. “Let Us Rise Up and Build”

After the Jews suffered through the destruction of the temple and a seventy-year captivity, they were allowed to return to Jerusalem to live and to rebuild the temple. Jeremiah’s prophecies were fulfilled in the actions of Cyrus, Ezra, and Nehemiah.

“The Persian Empire, the Return of the Jews, and the Diaspora,” Old Testament Student Manual Kings-Malachi 
A review of the history of Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus, the return of the Jews under Ezra and Nehemiah, and the reconstruction of the temple. “Despite Cyrus’s edict, most of the exiles chose to stay in Babylon because of favorable economic and agricultural conditions. Gradually, in the centuries from 400 B.C. to A.D. 200 and even later, the Jews dispersed themselves to all parts of the known world and set up enduring colonies.”

“The Exiles Return (Ezra),” Old Testament Student Manual Kings-Malachi
The books of Ezra and Nehemiah were originally part of a compilation that included 1 and 2 Chronicles. Ezra 1:1–3 and 2 Chronicles 36:22–23 are almost identical. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are actually the last two historical books of the Old Testament. The book of Ezra recounts the joys and struggles of the rebuilding of the temple.

“Haggai: Prophet of the Second Temple (Haggai),” Old Testament Student Manual Kings- Malachi
“Like so many other prophets, Haggai taught that temporal problems were the direct result of spiritual weaknesses. He reminded the people that only when God’s will takes priority would they prosper. Thus his call to repentance is a specific one: they were to show their change of heart by rebuilding the temple. To show the significance of their work, Haggai prophesied of the future day when the temple will take on international significance.”

“Harry S. Truman as a Modern Cyrus,” by Michael T. Benson, BYU Studies, Volume 34, no. 1
Cyrus the Great made possible the return of Jews to Jerusalem (as recorded in Ezra, Isaiah, Daniel, and 2 Chronicles). Harry S Truman became a modern-day Cyrus for his crucial role in the creation of the state of Israel. This article describes Truman’s role.

“Consider Your Ways: The Book of Haggai and the Responsibilities and Blessings of Temple Work,” Ray L. Huntington, in Sperry Symposium Classics: The Old Testament
The central focus of Haggai’s message is certainly clear: Now is the time to build God’s holy temple! Haggai began his prophetic message by declaring: “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built” (Haggai 1:2). Yes, the altar and parts of the foundation had been rebuilt, but the work had been set aside for sixteen years. More importantly, the people didn’t seem bothered by their inattentiveness to the Lord’s work. In fact, they rationalized it was not the time to rebuild the temple. Clearly, they had other work they felt was more important.