Zerubbabel Rebuilds the Temple Object Lesson

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Sometimes being a Christ-follower is difficult because we can be mocked and discouraged by other people. Use this Zerubbabel Bible lesson to teach children that when God gives them a task to do, it is much better to obey Him, than to listen to discouraging people.


Focus Scripture: Ezra 4

Materials: Blocks of various sizes and shapes; small table

Geography: Persia, Jerusalem

Background: The people of Israel split into two kingdoms. The northern kingdom of Israel had no kings that feared the Lord. In time, their enemies conquered Israel and scattered those tribes throughout the known world. The southern kingdom of Judah had eight kings who followed the ways of the Lord. Because of this, God’s mercy was extended for a time. However, eventually all of the people and the leaders went after other gods and the One True God allowed the people of Judah to be exiled to Babylon.

Zerubbabel Rebuilds the Temple Object Lesson:

{Have the blocks on the table. Allow a child to build a tower. When the tower is partially built, shake the table so that the tower falls down. Tell the child to build the tower again. And again, when the tower is partially built, shake the tower so that it falls down. At this point the child might be irritated with you. Allow him to choose a partner to see if they can get the tower built. Again, shake the table so that it falls down.}





  • What job did I give you to do? [Build a tower]
  • Were you able to build it? [No]
  • Why? [Allow for answers]
  • How did you feel when I stopped you from building? [Allow for answers]

Zerubbabel Rebuilds the Temple Bible Lesson:

If you think of Daniel and the lion’s den, he was a young man when King Nebuchadnezzer destroyed Jerusalem, took all the riches from the temple, and then destroyed it as well. For seventy years the Jews were in captivity throughout the kingdom of Babylon. When Daniel was an old man, Babylon was attacked and defeated by the Persian Empire.

A new king was on the throne, King Cyrus. King Cyrus made a proclamation allowing the Jews to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. The king also gave the people all of the gold and riches that King Nebuchadnezzer had taken from the temple.

Zerubbabel helped to lead those Jews who wanted to return to Jerusalem. After seventy years, many Jews had been born in captivity and they enjoyed their life. Many didn’t want to return to Jerusalem. About 42,000 Jews returned to rebuild the temple. Jerusalem was still under the rule of Persia, but the king was allowing them to go home!

However, there were people already living in the land. Some of the people were poor Jews who had been left behind and they had intermarried with Gentiles. These people were called Samaritans. Others were Canaanites. When the Jews returned, they were not welcome.

The Jews were determined to do what God wanted them to do: build the temple. When they arrived some people wept because they remembered the splendor of Solomon’s temple before it was destroyed.

The foundations of the temple were there, so the people began to rebuild the temple.

The Canaanites did not approve. They tried to discourage, frustrate, and threaten the people as they began to build.


  • Remember how you felt when the blocks kept falling down? [Yes]
  • How do you think the Jews felt? [Allow for answers]

The enemies of the Jews eventually wrote a letter to a new Persian king: Artaxerxes. They were able to get the king to stop the building of the temple.

About 15 years went by. No one worked on the temple. The Jews were too afraid.

There were two prophets that began to encourage the people, one was Haggai, who represented the older generation, and the other was Zechariah, who represented the younger Jews. Both encouraged the people to do what the Lord had originally told them to do: Rebuild the temple.

And the Jews did. They started the building project again, and once again those in the land didn’t like it. But “the eye of God” was upon the Jews. Even though the people of the land sent a letter to another new king, Darius, the Jews did not stop building.

Eventually a letter arrived from King Darius and he proclaimed that the Jews had permission to continue and finish building the temple.

And the temple was completed!!

{Allow the child to return to the blocks and rebuild the structure. Celebrate when it is completed, just as the Jews celebrated when their temple was completed.}


Life Application of Zerubbabel Rebuilds the Temple :

God has a plan for your life. He has given you gifts and abilities.


  • What do you want to be when you grow up? [Allow for answers]

Those are great goals. But if God hasn’t told you to do those things, you will be wasting your time. The Jews were given a specific task. God will give you a task as well.

Through prayer and learning, God will reveal to you what He wants you to do when you grow up. It will be an adventure!

But there will be times when other people aren’t going to agree with the task God gives you. Like the people of the land discouraged the Jews, you might have people in your life who discourage you to do what God wants you to do.


  • Which is more important, to do what God tells you to do? or what people tell you? [God]
  • Are there wise people you can listen to who can help you know what God wants you to do? [Yes]
  • How can you respond to those who might not agree with what you are doing for God? [Allow for answers; guide them to realize that they can be polite in response, and still do what God tells them to; Also help them to see that sometimes following God means being treated poorly by others, like the Jews were.]
  • How do you know what God wants you to do? [Read the Bible; pray and listen to His voice]

While Jesus was on earth He was mocked and ridiculed for things that He did. He would heal on the Sabbath. He would say things against the Religious leaders. He was silent when being accused of blasphemy. He was mocked while dying on the cross.

If we choose to be Jesus Followers, then we must expect that we will be made fun of at some point in time.

What can we learn from Zerubbabel rebuilding the temple? The Bible is filled with commands and actions that we should be doing. Sometimes other people won’t like it when we do what God wants us to. But we can be strong and courageous and do what God wants anyway. We answer to Him, not people.

** Interesting Facts about Zerubbabel’s Temple




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