Some of the Jews came back to the Promised Land after a period of exile. They had not left Canaan willingly, but were being disciplined by the Almighty because of their “breach of faith.” Those returning to Jerusalem and to their ancestral territories were the new “Israel.” In their number there were also priests and many Levites, including gatekeepers, temple servants, and leading musicians, reflecting the great importance of reestablishing divine worship.
Though the people listed in 1 Chronicles 9 were engaged in a new mission, it involved the restitution of an old system for drawing near to God. Eventually a new way of spiritual vitality would come through the death and resurrection of the Messiah. It was necessary for some Jews to return to Jerusalem in order for the purposes of God to be fulfilled. Only then would Jesus be rejected by many priests, Levites, and other leaders. The “Stone” of Psalm 118 would be despised by the “builders” and would thus become the “Cornerstone” of a new world.
Of course, the great majority of Jews did not return home. By the wise providence of God, the Lord’s people would be scattered throughout a very great area where many synagogues would be established by the faithful. This one fact would be of great importance when the time came for the faith of the Jews to touch all the many people groups of the earth. Apostles, preachers, and many worshipers would go first to the Jews and then to many Gentile god-fearers in city after city in the Mediterranean world. In this way Christ would be preached everywhere.
It was the intention of Jehovah to establish a very new Temple in the appointed Messiah. Through the preaching of the gospel, a new “obedience of faith” would be planted in many lands. Eventually, the victorious Priest at the head of a vast priesthood of all believers will return to earth to reign over an eternal kingdom of life. Our participation in the proclamation of this new world through our every word and deed is the privilege of the church throughout the New Testament era. Our religion is more than just a coping mechanism for living peacefully and profitably in a dying world. Christ is the only answer for anyone who would seek eternal life.