Who Is Zerubbabel?
We are reprinting an article written for our young adult’s publication (Z-News) several years ago. It describes plainly and succinctly our Biblical basis for the name of our ministry.
When I tell people the name of our fellowship, they often ask, “Why Zerubbabel?” The story of Zerubbabel (Ezra 2) and the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem is very encouraging. Our Christian fellowship takes its name from a descendent of King David. Zerubbabel led the first and largest group of Israelites out of slavery and back to the promised land. Just as Zerubbabel knew he was to return the Israelites to the promised land the rebuild the temple, we are a part of God’s rebuilding the present-day church. We do this by believing that Jesus Christ is living in us and as us, and by taking His message to others.
When the Israelites, led by Zerubbabel, arrived in Jerusalem, they did not begin by laying the city walls or constructing government buildings, but by rebuilding the altar. They worshipped God together and celebrated with a feast. Zerubbabel had his priorities straight right from the start.
The temple foundation was soon completed, but two problems arose. Some of the workers remembered Solomon’s magnificent temple and were disappointed by how much smaller and less spectacular their new temple would be. Likewise, our ministry might appear fairly small and unimportant, but God is impressed not by size or number but by our faith in Him.
The faith of the prophet Zerubbabel was certainly tested when work on the temple ground to a halt in the face of threats by enemies of the Jews. People went home, and sixteen years passed. Understandable, Zerubbabel felt very discouraged having to stop the building of the temple after an initial period of such excitement and accomplishment.
God knew Zerubbabel’s feelings of hopelessness, so He sent the prophets of Haggai and Zechariah to confront the reluctant people and to comfort their fears. This encouragement brought about renewed energy among the people, and they began to work once more. After the work was restarted, God’s temple was completed in only four years.
It is not uncommon for us to feel discouraged, just as Zerubbabel did, when things do not appear to be going our way. However, when we know that we are not independent of God and therefore are unable to do anything in and of ourselves, we see God in control and that He works all things together for good. As believers, we should expect opposition when doing God’s work–Satan is always working against God and His people. The opposition may try to discourage and intimidate us or accuse us unjustly, but when we are prepared for spiritual warfare, we cannot be stopped by the Evil One.
Just as Satan caused the building of the temple to be interrupted by tricking the Israelites into acting on their fears and doubts, Satan can also tempt us as Christians today. When we believe Satan’s lie that we are on our own, sweating and struggling to do God’s work, we will act on our fears and doubts, but when we believe God’s truth that the Holy Spirit lives inside us, we are able to do all things through Him (Phil. 4:13).
Here is a very encouraging verse that is important for us to remember: “this is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord almighty. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain will stand in Zerubbael’s way; it will flatten out before him! Then Zerubbabel will set the final stone of the temple in place, and the people will shout: May God bless it!'” (Zechariah 4:6, 7).