The deep meaning and import of the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread are foundational to God’s plan of salvation. The Church stands upon the foundation of Christ’s sacrifice and is built up with those the Father adds as individual member components. Jesus Christ promised that He would build His Church and that it would not cease to exist (Matthew 16:18). This provides not only encouragement to those who would be called to be a part of the Church, but also important teaching for the Church.
The prophet Zechariah prophesied at the time of the restoration of the temple in Jerusalem around 520 BC. Both Israel and Judah had been taken into captivity and after 70 years of ruin God expresses mercy by inspiring the reconstruction of Jerusalem and the temple. “I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal…I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it” (Zechariah 1:14, 16).
This prophecy is parallel to the historic account given by Ezra of the reconstruction. In the fifth chapter of Ezra we are told that the prophets Haggai and Zechariah were in Jerusalem and Judah and that Zerubbabel was the project manager for temple reconstruction. As backstory we read in the book of Ezra: “But because our fathers provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and carried the people away to Babylon. However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to build this house of God… let the house of God be rebuilt on its former site” (Ezra 5:12-15).
Under the inspiration of God, the prophet Zechariah drew a spiritual analogy. The building of the temple is a type of the building of the Church. In the fourth chapter of Zechariah’s prophecy we are introduced to a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top supporting seven lamps. By way of explanation the angel who showed this to Zechariah told him, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel; Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit”. The temple was not going to be built by human strength, but by the power of God. Further, this project was a type. “Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” (Zechariah 4:6, 7). The lampstand symbolizes the Church and Zerubbabel is a type of Christ.
Christ is building His Church. This is a concept understood by those entrusted with the nurture and care of the Church in its early years. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth that, “we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. …For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ… Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:8-16). As the angel had revealed to Zechariah, the Holy Spirit would be given to the Church and would be the power by which the Church would be built into the temple of God.
As we draw to the close of a week of Unleavened Bread let us not forget that this pictures the ongoing building project. We are not to build with “old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8). Each of us should consider our personal obligations to God’s building program. “But let each of us take heed how he builds on it” (1 Corinthians 3:10).
The Church that marries the Lamb when He returns will have been made ready. We are privileged to have a part in this preparatory phase, so that we, as members of God’s Church, can be present for that momentous event.