The restoration of the New Jewish Community was extremely dynamic. God brought His children back to Judah so that He could honor His promise to Abraham. There were many men who were responsible for the success of the new community; all of them together were suppose to shape the Israelis into God’s powerful Nation.
While they were still under King Nebuchadnezzar’s rule, Daniel prophesied the future events of the coming Jewish Nation to the king, which caused the king to allow the Jews to continue to worship God while in captivity.
Ezra was a teacher of God’s word. He led the second group of exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem. Ezra taught God’s laws and he believed in following Gods laws. He devoted his life to obeying and teaching Gods laws. Ezra restored the law to the Jewish people after they had been unholy. Because the people of Israel were so plagued with sin, Ezra removed his clothing and plucked out his hair, lifted his hands and prayed to God for forgiveness of the Israelis sins. He brought the Torah back and had the Jews fast and confess their sins. He also inaugurated synagogue worship in Israel when he called the great assembly in Jerusalem. He helped the Jewish people observe and fulfill God’s commandments.
Where Ezra gave the new community spiritual stability, Nehemiah gave them physical stability. He confessed to God for Israel’s sins, also reminding God that they are His people. Upon Nehemiahs encouragement the people re-built the walls around Jerusalem so that they could keep those who wanted to harm them out, to allow them the freedom to worship God in peace . Nehemiah prayed to God to help the people while they built the wall and also to free the Jews from their debts to the Persians. With God’s help they were able to accomplish both. Once the walls were built the people offered sacrifices to God and rejoiced .
The prophets played a very important role in the restoration of the Jewish community. The Prophet Ezekiel was sent to warn the people. While under Babylonian rule the Jews were allowed to obtain high social status. One of the dangers was that they might not want to return home to the Promised Land. The prophet Ezekiel was sent to them by God to warn them. To tell them that they must give up their earthy power and come back to the Promised Land. They were told to stop being evil and to worship God once again. If they did not, they would die in sin .
While the people built the new Temple they became discouraged and began building their own homes and thought of themselves instead of God. Haggai was sent to them to motivate them. Haggai’s devotion and dependence on the Lords along with his lessons of faithfulness motivated the people to finish the temple.
Haggai was the motivator and Zechariah was sent to comfort and encourage the returning people. When they returned from exile they felt uncertain about their future. Zecheriah told the people to repent and God would forgive them. He focused on their future and the coming of the Messiah.
100 years after Haggai and Zechariah had the Jews build the temple they began to ignore their responsibilities to God. They didn’t tithe or bring offerings, they married foreigners and got divorced. God sent Malachi to rebuke the people for their sin. God had become tired of His children’s behavior once again. He let them know if they did not return to Him they would not be with Him in Heaven. He let them know that the day of the Lord would be coming and if they did not rid themselves of their wicked ways they would face judgement and eternal damnation.
When the Jews returned from Babylon they struggled with faith and devotion. They were also fearful of their new role. God sent men to encourage them so that they could once again build the temple and worship Him. His purpose for bringing them back to Judah was to re-establish the Kingdom he’d promised Abraham and to build and strengthen their faith in Him. He sent prophets and priests to them for guidance. He also promised them a Messiah who would come and establish a permanent Kingdom that He wanted them to be a part of. They were faithful for a while, but in time they became wicked once again. For the first time He let the remnant know that they would not have everlasting life in the New Kingdom if they did not quit their wicked ways and obey Him. Even though He rebuked them, He still had their best interests at heart and tried to reach them so that they will be His in the final Kingdom.