And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the Lord God of Israel, did eat, And kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread 7days with joy: for the Lord had made them joyful, Ezra 6:21-22
In 520 B.C. the prophets Haggai and Zechariah urge the Jews to complete the temple, whose foundation had been laid in 536 B.C. Taking on the project is an act of faith, for at this tie the struggling community was hardly able to survive (cf. Hag. 1:5-11). When they do begin, the governor of the Persian land-across-the-river district writes to check on the Jews’s authority to complete the temple, and for instructions from King Darius (5:1-7). The author quotes the request in the original Aramaic language (vv 8-17) and also quotes the king’s reply. In it Darius confirms the original decree. He orders that all expenses of the temple project be paid from the royal treasury (6:1-12). The Jews’ faith has been rewarded, and God has met every need! The temple is completed in 4 years later. It is dedicated with great joy (vv.13-18), and once again the Jews celebrate Passover before their own temple in their own land (vv. 19-22)
And the children of the captivity kept the Passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 For the priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them were pure, and killed the Passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. 21 And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the Lord God of Israel, did eat, 22 And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the Lord had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel. Ezra 6:19-22
Haggai and Zechariah
These 2 prophets lived and ministered among the people who returned. Haggai’s messages can be dated to the very day they were given and focused on completion of the temple. Zechariah also urged its completion. But his written prophecies are on the broader theme of God’s plan for his people during the times that Gentiles will have political authority in Palestine.