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Rebuilding the Temple: Part 1

Jews return to Jerusalem to lay the foundations of the Temple.
Contributed by Sweet Publishing
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Hindi, Simplified Chinese
When the Jews repeatedly disobeyed, God allowed the Babylonians to invade Jerusalem and destroy the city. They plundered the valuable articles of gold and silver from the Temple then destroyed it. The city buildings and walls were also damaged. – Slide 1
Most of those who survived the battle were captured and taken into captivity in Babylon. Jerusalem was left in ruins. God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah to let the Jews know they would remain as captives for 70 years before they would be able to return. – Slide 2
Almost seventy years later the mighty Babylonian empire fell to Cyrus, King of the Medes and Persians. In the first year of his reign God prompted Cyrus to announce that the Jews who wanted to return to their land could do so. – Slide 3
Cyrus also declared that God had told him to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Those in the regions where the Jews now lived should donate gold, silver, animals and goods to them along with gifts for the temple. – Slide 4
The order was written in the official records so that everyone would know it was the King’s command. – Slide 5
When the announcement was read the heads of many families, the Priests and Levites, prepared to return to Jerusalem and the surrounding region of Judea to rebuild the Temple and live back in the land God had given them – Slide 6
Their neighbours were very generous, giving them gifts. King Cyrus returned 5400 valuable objects of gold and silver the Babylonians had stolen from the Temple and gave them to Sheshbazzar the leader of Judah. – Slide 7
42,000 people set off with their servants and animals on the long trip back to Judea. – Slide 8
When they arrived back in Jerusalem they found the city in ruins. – Slide 9
At the site of the ruined temple many of the heads of the families gave generously to fund the rebuilding work. Over 1100 pounds (500 kilos) of gold was donated and 6500 pounds (2900 kilos) of silver. Also donated were 100 sets of special clothes for the priests. – Slide 10
They then started rebuilding their houses in towns and cities of Judea. Jeshua and Zerubbabel, helped by others, rebuilt the altar of the Temple. Then, during the seventh month, the Jews gathered in Jerusalem. Sacrifices were offered to God and gifts given as they celebrated the holiday feast of shelters – Slide 11
Money was given to pay craftsmen who worked with stone and wood to start rebuilding the temple. A few months later the rebuilding work began, supervised by a team of Levites under the direction of Zerubabbel and Jeshua. – Slide 12
Gifts were given to the people of Tyre and Sidon to purchase large pieces of timber. These were floated along the coast to the port of Joppa and then hauled overland up to Jerusalem. – Slide 13
The first part of the project was to lay the foundations of the temple and when these were set, the people gathered to worship God. The priests and Levites led the worship, singing the same songs their ancestors had sung when the original temple had been built in the days of Solomon. – Slide 14
They sang, ‘God is good. He will always love Israel.’ Many of the people were so happy they shouted aloud and the sound could be heard for a long distance. – Slide 15
But the older people who had seen the temple before it had been destroyed wept. They could see that the base of the new temple would be much smaller than the original one. Everyone made so much noise you could not distinguish between those rejoicing and those crying. – Slide 16
Slide 17