How did the completion of the rebuilding of the Temple differ from the first Temple and from the Tabernacle, and why is this significant?
Cyrus edict to rebuild the temple. The Lord moves the heart of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-11) . This shows the continuity of the first return to the past by connecting Cyrus’s edict to rebuild the temple with the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy that the captivity would last seventy years (Jeremiah 29:10). Waltke presents deliberate parallels and contrasts to show the continuity and discontinuity between the first and second temples. The first parallel is how they brought cedar logs sea from Lebanon to Joppa, which is similar to Salomon’s temple (1 Chron. 22:4; 2 Chron.2:8). The masons and carpenters also were from Sidon and Tyre (1Chron 22.4). The second parallel is that where the food comes from and when the work began looks like the time of Salomon. The third parallel is that building the Temple and the Altar has the same characteristics of thanksgiving for God’s goodness and mercy (Ps 106:47; 107:2-3).
However, the completion of the rebuilt Temple, also known as the Second Temple, differed from the first Temple and the Tabernacle in several ways. Firstly, the Second Temple was built after the return of the Jews from the Babylonian exile, whereas the First Temple was built during the reign of King Solomon. God spoke to Cyrus, the Jewish enemy to push them to go and build the Temple while the first one, God used Salomon. It differs from the Tabernacle, as on the other hand, it was a portable structure that was used by the Israelites during their journey through the wilderness.
Secondly, the Second Temple was smaller and less grand than the First Temple, which was considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. The Second Temple lacked some of the impressive features of the First Temple, such as the Ark of the Covenant and the cherubim that adorned the Holy of Holies. Finally, the completion of the Second Temple was significant because it marked the return of the Jews to their homeland after the exile and the restoration of worship in Jerusalem (Ezra 3:1-13). It was seen as a sign of God’s faithfulness to his people,
Despite these challenges, the Jewish people persevered and continued to maintain their identity and culture. Jewish scholarship and creativity flourished in the centuries following the Temple’s destruction, with new forms of religious expression and innovation emerging to fill the void left by the Temple’s absence. Today, the memory and legacy of the Second Temple continue to inspire and inform Jewish thought and practice, serving as a testament to the enduring power of faith, community, and resilience in the face of adversity.
Good News Bible with word of Christ in Red, Second Edition, 1994
Waltke, Bruce K., and Charles Yu. An Old Testament Theology : An Exegetical, Canonical, and Thematic Approach. Vol. 1st ed. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan Academic, 2007, pp. 775-779