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Zerubbabel was a descendant of King David (1 Chronicles 3:1,19 - see also Israelite Dynasties) who led a large group of Jews back to Jerusalem after their seventy years exile in Babylon (see Why Babylon? to understand why the people of the kingdom of Judah were sent into exile; the people of the kingdom of Israel were already long gone, for the same reason - see The Galilee Captivity). Zerubbabel was most likely born during the exile in Babylon. His name, Zerubbabel, means seed of Babylon or born in Babylon, which may seem like a derogatory name (as it Biblically can be, in other ways), but it should be kept in mind that Abraham himself was born in Babylon, in what is today southern Iraq. Just as Abraham the Iraqi was sent by The Lord to found a nation, Israel, in which he had never been before (see also On His Own Two Feet), so too Zerubbabel was chosen to lead a return to a place that he himself may never have actually been before (an example of the same thing from nature may be that of the amazing journey of monarch butterflies that migrate thousands of miles from Canada to Mexico in autumn and then return the following spring; most of the monarch population that return 6 months later are the children of those that left, who were born during the journey - they come back "home" to a place that they as individuals have never been before - see also Spiritual and Physical Gatherings).

"Zerubbabel ... governor of Judah"

The Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia), after they conquered the Babylonians (see Ancient Empires - Babylon), permitted the people of Judah to return home. It wasn't merely the result of any sort of political generosity of the Persians; The Lord made it happen, just as He said that He would:

Returning Home

"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of The Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of The Lord God of Israel" (Ezra 1:1-3 KJV)

Upon their return, they first re-established the religious observances of the nation, the God-commanded Holy Days which were and are a direct and purposeful foreshadow of the process of salvation of all of humanity e.g. see The Feast Of Tabernacles.

"And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto The Lord, even burnt offerings morning and evening."

"They kept also the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required; And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of The Lord that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto The Lord. From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto The Lord. But the foundation of the temple of The Lord was not yet laid." (Ezra 3:1-6 KJV)

Next, the rebuilding of the Temple - the place that Jesus Christ would later call "My Father's House":

"Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of The Lord." (Ezra 3:8 KJV)

Zerubbabel is recorded as the "governor of Judah." His close associate was Joshua the high priest (not to be confused with the Joshua who succeeded Moses at the time of the Exodus):

"And The Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of The Lord of hosts, their God" (Haggai 1:14 KJV)

The Lord spoke to Zerubbabel on a number of occasions through the prophets e.g.

"In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of The Lord by the prophet Haggai, saying, Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith The Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith The Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith The Lord of hosts" (Haggai 2:1-4 KJV)

"And again the word of The Lord came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith The Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith The Lord, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith The Lord of hosts" (Haggai 2:20-23 KJV)

Zerubbabel was given the task of doing what could not be stopped because The Lord cannot be stopped:

"Moreover the word of The Lord came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that The Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? For they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet [see also The Lord's Plumb Line] in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of The Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth." (Zechariah 4:8-10 KJV)

Fact Finder: Is Zerubbabel one of the direct ancestors of Jesus Christ?
Matthew 1:1,13, Luke 3:23,27

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