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We often reserve that phrase for the great Book of Nehemiah, “the joy of the Lord.” (Nehemiah 8:10 … “For the joy of the LORD is your strength.” So true!) Yet that’s exactly what I have titled today’s Lesson, “the joy of the Lord.” But based on an Ezra Text, written at the Feast of […]
Yes, the Temple has been completed! And as God would have it, the time of the year the Building’s dedication coincided with Passover month! “And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month. For the priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them were pure, […]
One verse today, just before we reach the great “Passover” event in Ezra chapter 6, at chapter’s end. In review … The altar of worship has now been built. The Temple completed as well. And a resultant time of celebration enjoyed! But now, the workers in the sanctuary (spiritual ministers) must be once again “organized!” So … […]
Yes, this is a lesson from the Book of Ezra. But first read with me Psalm 36:6, part of it anyway. The writer there is addressing God … “Thy JUDGMENTS are a great deep: O LORD.” Wow! Job 9:10 adds to this line of thought: “Which (God) doeth great THINGS past finding out; yea, and wonders without […]
Victory! The first group of Jews who returned from Babylon worked and worked to complete the building of the Temple, in some ways the task was a rebuilding of the Temple of Solomon, but on a less grand scale. This Story (though still, a factual account) has been told for six chapters now, from the […]
The Book of Ezra is dominated by correspondence, by letters. Mostly written from Israel’s enemies back to the Persian authorities (particularly Persian Kings) … seeking to question (at best) or even halt (the true goal) the work of building the Temple, rebuilding it anyway. Here are the two prime examples. Back in Ezra chapter 4 […]
Most of the Prophets of Israel or Judah exercised their ministries prior to the so-called Babylonian Captivity, before 586 BC. Then two of the Old Testament Prophets (Ezekiel and Daniel) wrote and preached during that sad 70 year span of time. But then again, a few men (Prophets indeed) led Judah after the (Babylonian but […]
Yes, through a wicked letter (filled with malice and half-truth) the enemy (mostly Samarians) was able to bring about a halt to the work of reconstructing the Jewish Temple, back in the days of Zerubbabel. Here’s the Text: “Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the […]
Is the Bible a history textbook? No, not per se, at least it was not designed specifically for that reason. But when the Bible does address matters of history … it is accurate. I tend to say “infallible, inerrant!” Without mistake, in other words! But still, one will not find a detailed summary of the […]
We’re only in the 4th chapter of Ezra (4 of 10 chapters) and an enemy has already appeared on the horizon. (I had no idea we would be studying the “tactics” of the evil one in this little Book of Scripture!) In fact, this is the third day of studying these dangerous “ways of the devil.” […]
A handful of Jews (relatively speaking) were trying to rebuild the Jewish Temple, after seventy years of grueling captivity. Living in a “strange land” (Babylon), certainly not the Holy Land! But opposition had risen! From the mixed-up (ethnically and religiously and morally) people who lived in and around Jerusalem. Non-worshippers of Almighty God! Ezra calls […]
Oh, how shrewd the Devil is! How “wily,” meaning “skilled at gaining an advantage, especially deceitfully.” A word that reached its peak use about a hundred years ago, and now must be defined. And today’s Text, Ezra 4:1-3, illustrates what I mean. How the devil himself is “transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14. […]
Nearly anytime God’s people inch forward, make progress … there will be opposition! And the Book of Ezra has carefully recorded for us how a handful of Jews, returning from Babylon, built an altar to Almighty God. And how they immediately thereafter started to (re)build the Temple (so far just the foundation, but still advancing toward […]
The Jews’ Temple (the one history now calls “Zerubbabel’s Temple”) is not yet complete. Not by a long shot, as we will see in a few lessons. BUT … the foundation has been laid! At least it had by the time Ezra 3:11-13 pronounces this new development: “And they sang together by course in praising and […]
A phrase in Ezra 3:8 has caught my attention … “ALL they that were come out of the captivity.” Here are those words again, in their context, in their proper verse setting. “Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of […]
Forty-two thousand Jews, nearly forty-three thousand have returned home from Babylon, a land by then ruled by Persia. (Others will follow, this is the first returning “wave” of Israelites under the leadership of Sheshbazzar, a little known hero.) And their first order of business … building an altar where God can be worshipped, sacrifice made in His […]
The Temple area which the returning (from captivity) Jews located was essentially the remains of the Temple of Solomon, built hundreds of years earlier (500 years, in round numbers). Ezra 3:1-7 has already told us about the rebuilding of the altar. (Thereby establishing a place for worship, for atoning bloodshed, in accordance to God’s Word, […]
Yesterday we noticed this verse: “And they (the Jews) set the altar upon his bases; FOR FEAR WAS UPON THEM BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE OF THOSE COUNTRIES: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.” Ezra 3:3 Remember? “The closer one lives to God (via the altar and […]
Today we reach Ezra chapter 3 in our course through that whole little (divinely inspired) Book of History. At least the first three verses: “And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. Then stood up Jeshua the […]
In Ezra chapter 2 one of Judah’s leaders is named, “Zerubbabel” to be specific. Remember, the man Ezra does not appear in the Book that bears his name until chapter 7. But thereafter, he (Ezra) virtually dominates the remaining chapters. Read with me. “Now these are the children of the province that went up out […]
As the Jews returned from captivity each man or woman apparently had to prove his or her ancestry. Especially this was so of the leaders. (Remember, priests could only serve IF they were of the Tribe of Levi and of the family of Aaron, one of his descendants.) And not everyone was able to do this […]
Ezra chapter two, the longest chapter in the whole Book (by far) with 70 verses, is basically a list of names! Essentially so, names and titles! Here’s the opening line: “Now these are the children (all Jews) of the province that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom […]
As I noted yesterday, Ezra chapter 2 is the longest in the Book. Yet (I noticed earlier this morning) it begins and ends with the same note, probably a clue to one of the facts the Holy Spirit is therein emphasizing. Let me show you. I will capitalize the phrase in focus … Ezra 3:1 … […]
His name is foreign. Although he is a Jew. “Sheshbazzar” literally means “worshipper of fire.” A Babylonian derivation, looks like to me. Some believe he is identical to Zerubbabel, but based on Ezra 5:11 I do not think that is the case. And who is he? Almost the “hero” (from a Jewish perspective) of Ezra […]
I nearly entitled this Lesson “Stealing from God!” That’s precisely what King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had done decades earlier, when he sacked and burned Jerusalem, destroying its Temple in the process. Second Chronicles 36:7 tells us: “Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at […]

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