Work on the Temple Begins Again
24 (A)Work on the Temple had been stopped and had remained at a standstill until the second year of the reign of Emperor Darius of Persia.
5 (B)At that time two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo, began to speak in the name of the God of Israel to the Jews who lived in Judah and Jerusalem. 2 (C)When Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Joshua son of Jehozadak heard their messages, they began to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, and the two prophets helped them.
3 Almost at once Governor Tattenai of West-of-Euphrates, Shethar Bozenai, and their fellow officials came to Jerusalem and demanded: “Who gave you orders to build this Temple and equip it?” 4 They[a] also asked for the names of all the men who were helping build the Temple. 5 But God was watching over the Jewish leaders, and the Persian officials decided to take no action until they could write to Emperor Darius and receive a reply. 6 This is the report that they sent to the emperor:
7 “To Emperor Darius, may you rule in peace.
8 “Your Majesty should know that we went to the province of Judah and found that the Temple of the great God is being rebuilt with large stone blocks and with wooden beams set in the wall. The work is being done with great care and is moving ahead steadily.
9 “We then asked the leaders of the people to tell us who had given them authority to rebuild the Temple and to equip it. 10 We also asked them their names so that we could inform you who the leaders of this work are.
11 “They answered, ‘We are servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the Temple which was originally built and equipped many years ago by a powerful king of Israel. 12 (D)But because our ancestors made the God of Heaven angry, he let them be conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, a king of the Chaldean dynasty. The Temple was destroyed, and the people were taken into exile in Babylonia. 13 (E)Then in the first year of the reign of King Cyrus as emperor of Babylonia, Cyrus issued orders for the Temple to be rebuilt. 14 He restored the gold and silver Temple utensils which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem and had placed in the temple in Babylon. Emperor Cyrus turned these utensils over to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he appointed governor of Judah. 15 The emperor told him to take them and return them to the Temple in Jerusalem, and to rebuild the Temple where it had stood before. 16 So Sheshbazzar came and laid its foundation; construction has continued from then until the present, but it is still not finished.’
17 “Now, if it please Your Majesty, have a search made in the royal records in Babylon to find whether or not Emperor Cyrus gave orders for this Temple in Jerusalem to be rebuilt, and then inform us what your will is in this matter.”
Emperor Cyrus' Order Is Rediscovered
6 So Emperor Darius issued orders for a search to be made in the royal records that were kept in Babylon. 2 But it was in the city of Ecbatana in the province of Media that a scroll was found, containing the following record:
3 “In the first year of his reign Emperor Cyrus commanded that the Temple in Jerusalem be rebuilt as a place where sacrifices are made and offerings are burned. The Temple is to be ninety feet high and ninety feet wide. 4 The walls are to be built with one layer of wood on top of each three layers of stone. All expenses are to be paid by the royal treasury. 5 Also the gold and silver utensils which King Nebuchadnezzar brought to Babylon from the Temple in Jerusalem are to be returned to their proper place in the Jerusalem Temple.”
Emperor Darius Orders the Work to Continue
6 Then Emperor Darius sent the following reply:
“To Tattenai, governor of West-of-Euphrates, Shethar Bozenai, and your fellow officials in West-of-Euphrates.
“Stay away from the Temple 7 and do not interfere with its construction. Let the governor of Judah and the Jewish leaders rebuild the Temple of God where it stood before. 8 I hereby command you to help them rebuild it. Their expenses are to be paid promptly out of the royal funds received from taxes in West-of-Euphrates, so that the work is not interrupted. 9 Day by day, without fail, you are to give the priests in Jerusalem whatever they tell you they need: young bulls, sheep, or lambs to be burned as offerings to the God of Heaven, or wheat, salt, wine, or olive oil. 10 This is to be done so that they can offer sacrifices that are acceptable to the God of Heaven and pray for his blessing on me and my sons. 11 I further command that if any disobey this order, a wooden beam is to be torn out of their houses, sharpened on one end, and then driven through their bodies. And their houses are to be made a rubbish heap.
12 May the God who chose Jerusalem as the place where he is to be worshiped overthrow any king or nation that defies this command and tries to destroy the Temple there. I, Darius, have commanded. My command is to be fully obeyed.”
The Temple Is Dedicated
13 Then Governor Tattenai, Shethar Bozenai, and their fellow officials did exactly as the emperor had commanded. 14 (F)The Jewish leaders made good progress with the building of the Temple, encouraged by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. They completed the Temple as they had been commanded by the God of Israel and by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, emperors of Persia. 15 They finished the Temple on the third day of the month Adar in the sixth year of the reign of Emperor Darius. 16 Then the people of Israel—the priests, the Levites, and all the others who had returned from exile—joyfully dedicated the Temple. 17 For the dedication they offered 100 bulls, 200 sheep, and 400 lambs as sacrifices, and 12 goats as offerings for sin, one for each tribe of Israel. 18 They also organized the priests and the Levites for the Temple services in Jerusalem, according to the instructions contained in the book of Moses.
19 (G)The people who had returned from exile celebrated Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month of the following year. 20 All the priests and the Levites had purified themselves and were ritually clean. The Levites killed the animals for the Passover sacrifices for all the people who had returned, for the priests, and for themselves. 21 The sacrifices were eaten by all the Israelites who had returned from exile and by all those who had given up the pagan ways of the other people who were living in the land and who had come to worship the Lord God of Israel. 22 For seven days they joyfully celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread. They were full of joy because the Lord had made the emperor of Assyria[b] favorable to them, so that he supported them in their work of rebuilding the Temple of the God of Israel.
1 Corinthians 3:5-23
5 After all, who is Apollos? And who is Paul? We are simply God's servants, by whom you were led to believe. Each one of us does the work which the Lord gave him to do: 6 (A)I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plant, but it was God who made the plant grow. 7 The one who plants and the one who waters really do not matter. It is God who matters, because he makes the plant grow. 8 There is no difference between the one who plants and the one who waters; God will reward each one according to the work each has done. 9 For we are partners working together for God, and you are God's field.
You are also God's building. 10 Using the gift that God gave me, I did the work of an expert builder and laid the foundation, and someone else is building on it. But each of you must be careful how you build. 11 For God has already placed Jesus Christ as the one and only foundation, and no other foundation can be laid. 12 Some will use gold or silver or precious stones in building on the foundation; others will use wood or grass or straw. 13 And the quality of each person's work will be seen when the Day of Christ exposes it. For on that Day fire will reveal everyone's work; the fire will test it and show its real quality. 14 If what was built on the foundation survives the fire, the builder will receive a reward. 15 But if your work is burnt up, then you will lose it; but you yourself will be saved, as if you had escaped through the fire.
16 (B)Surely you know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you! 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys God's temple. For God's temple is holy, and you yourselves are his temple.
18 You should not fool yourself. If any of you think that you are wise by this world's standards, you should become a fool, in order to be really wise. 19 (C)For what this world considers to be wisdom is nonsense in God's sight. As the scripture says, “God traps the wise in their cleverness”; 20 (D)and another scripture says, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are worthless.” 21 No one, then, should boast about what human beings can do. Actually everything belongs to you: 22 Paul, Apollos, and Peter; this world, life and death, the present and the future—all these are yours, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
The Voice of the Lord in the Storm[a]
3 The voice of the Lord is heard on the seas;
the glorious God thunders,
and his voice echoes over the ocean.
4 The voice of the Lord is heard
in all its might and majesty.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
even the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes the mountains of Lebanon jump like calves
and makes Mount Hermon leap like a young bull.
7 The voice of the Lord makes the lightning flash.
8 His voice makes the desert shake;
he shakes the desert of Kadesh.
9 The Lord's voice shakes the oaks[c]
and strips the leaves from the trees
while everyone in his Temple shouts, “Glory to God!”
10 The Lord rules over the deep waters;
he rules as king forever.
11 The Lord gives strength to his people
and blesses them with peace.
26 A wise king will find out who is doing wrong, and will punish him without pity.
27 The Lord gave us mind and conscience; we cannot hide from ourselves.