Meaning of his name is offspring of Babylon or son of Babylon. He was born as an exile in Babylon. Israel was captured by Syria in around 700 BC. Around 600 BC Judah was captured by Babylonians. That's when many Jews were taken from Israel or Judah and taken to Babylon and held captive and many of them lived in captivity for more then 70 years. 2 million Jews at that time when Babylon finally fell under Persia.
Zerubbabel was probably born in Babylon that's why he was called son of Babylon. After Babylon fell under the ruin of Persia, the king Syrus was chosen by God to send them back, the exile back in to Jerusalem. This was a very exiting time for the Jews. It is like their dream coming true like one day they wanted to go back and be in their own home town.
Zerubbabel is a very famous man in the last parts of the old testament. His name is mentioned in many books starting with Ezra, Nehmiah, Zekariah, and also in the book of Huggai. He was living in the time of all these people and they all knew him. Also his name is mentioned in the list of genealogy, in the book of Mathew: 1: 12 and Luke: 3: 27. Even though there is no book written by him, but his name was written in many books. We will look into the passages written about him and we will learn about this man from the time he lived and what encouragement we can get from him or what convictions we can get from him.
Rebuild God's Temple
1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:
2 "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.
3 Anyone of his people among you--may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.
Its amazing to see God fulfill his word spoken by his prophets. What ever Jeremiah spoke God fulfilled in the time of the king Persia. The Persian king was not the believer of God but God moved. Syrus, the king of Persia is saying, the God of heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. The king says I have been chosen by God to build the temple of God in Jerusalem.
With that honest heart he calls the people of Israel and tells them the message. He says, "Are there any God's people here among you.' May God be with him, let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord. So God is speaking through a king to his people saying Gods people Listen, God is calling you at the time like this to go back to Jerusalem and do what God wants you to do to rebuild the temple. Some times God even speaks through non-Christians. God wants us to think about Gods church, Gods people and the lost people of this city.
Two million Hebrews lived there, out of which 50,000 responded. For them they were eager to go back to Jerusalem. We got to understand they were settled there for many years. They had there homes there, they had their families there and they were living very comfortable in new land of Babylon. God called them through the Syrus the king, how many of them were willing to go.
50,000 responded that's what is written in Ezra: 2: 1,2 here we can see all these people decided to go back. Is that easy for them to leave every thing and go to a new place? Zerubbabel has never visited such place in his whole life . Probably this is the first time he is visiting such a place in his life. Zerubbabel had faith. He and his men was willing to trust God and pack up their bags and go to a new land to set right what God wants them to set right. For many of us it is challenging to give up things in our life to do something for God.
What we learn from this 50,000 men and women is, their faith in God and their love for the people and their love for their nation that they were willing to stand up and do what is right. When they left to start this mission many people sacrificed in Babylon to support them. When all the people arrived in Jerusalem they all put a collection together for the temple of God to be rebuilt.
We need to share in God' work. Some of can share spiritually by praying for Gods church and his work. Pray for the workers who are working out there and serving God. Pray for those who are studying the bible, who are in our family group, pray for one another that's how we build the kingdom of God. For some of us we can contribute, we can share in Gods work by providing our leadership, providing the gift that God has given us to serve God and God's people. We can serve God by physically by working hard, sharing ,sacrificing the things that God has given us.
For some of us we can encourage one another. We don't have to have much money to give or lot of other things to give, but we can encourage with words. For some of us we can give financially to help in building the church of God. That's how we see everybody got united in serving the Lord and in rebuilding the temple of God.
Zerubbabel was the leader of the whole group, he was the governor of Jerusalem. Another man is Sheshbazzar Ezra 1: 8. He was also called prince of Judah. When Babylonians captured they took the most prominent people. They took the intellectual the king's relatives because they wanted the best. Zerubebel was somebody from the royal family. God worked in his heart to go back to Jerusalem and be there for the work of God.
1 When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled as one man in Jerusalem.
2 Then Jeshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.
3 Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the LORD, both the morning and evening sacrifices.
They decided to go back to Jerusalem, first thing they did is to worship back in Jerusalem, for that they had to rebuild the alter of God were they can give sacrifices and give burnt offerings.
In our personnel life we got to rebuild the altar before God. Many of us wondering how can I change how can I do this for God its different. It starts by building an altar of God. We can start sacrificing the things that we got to sacrifice saying God here I am to worship you and love you. Many of us do not know how to worship God. What did Zerubbabel and his people do, they did according to what was written in the law of Mosses the man of God. We should also know how to worship God, how to be happy, how to rebuild the altar, how to change our life. We have to read the word of God. It is in there, how to change our life.