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BIBLE STUDY > Bible Study: EZRA AND NEHEMIAH Wk # 3

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message 1: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 1930 comments Mod
“Re-Building God’s Temple”


Subject: Who was Ezra? The work of Ezra:

Scripture Reading: Ezra

Ezra was the second of three key leaders to leave Babylon for the reconstruction of Jerusalem. Zerubbabel reconstructed the temple (Ezra 3:8), Nehemiah rebuilt the walls (Nehemiah chapters 1 and 2) and Ezra restored the worship. Ezra was a scribe and priest sent with religious and political powers by the Persian King Artaxerxes to lead a group of Jewish exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:8, 12). Ezra condemned mixed marriages and encouraged Jews to divorce and banish their foreign wives. The most dramatic part of the book is the crisis over marriages between Jewish leaders and women from the peoples of the lands (Ezra 9:2). Ezra renewed the celebration of festivals and supported the rededication of the temple and the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall. Ezra 7:10 describes a shaping of the community in accordance with the Torah. Ezra’s goal was to implement the Torah, and his impeccable priestly and scribal credentials allowed him to remain the model leader.

The book of Ezra continues from where 2 Chronicles ends, with Cyrus, king of Persia, issuing a decree which permits the Jews of his kingdom to return to Jerusalem after seventy years of captivity. God is universally sovereign and can use a polytheistic king of Persia to make possible His people’s release. He used Artaxerxes, another Persian king, to authorize and finance the trip and Ezra to teach God’s people His Law. This same king also helped Nehemiah restore some measure of respectability to God’s holy city.

Ezra’s effective ministry included teaching the Word of God, initiating reforms, restoring worship and leading spiritual revival in Jerusalem. These reforms magnified the need for a genuine concern for reputation and for public image. What must the world think of God’s people with dilapidated city walls? What would distinguish God’s people who were guilty of intermarriage with those not in proper covenant relationship with the one true God? Nehemiah and Ezra were then, and are now, an encouragement to God’s people to magnify worship as their top priority, to emphasize the need for and use of God’s Word as the only authoritative rule for living, and to be concerned about the image God’s people show to the world.

Ezra came back from captivity in Babylon expecting to find the people serving the Lord with gladness, but upon his return to Jerusalem, he found the opposite. He was frustrated and sorrowful. His heart ached, but he still trusted the Lord. He wanted the Lord to change the situation and blamed himself for not being able to change the people’s hearts. He wanted the people to know how important and essential the Word of God was. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah were written to fulfill the Word of God. Nothing must supersede worship of God, and obedience is not optional. The Sovereign God looks over and protects His children, always keeping His promises and providing encouragement through those He sends (Ezra 5:1). Even when His plan seems to be interrupted, as with the rebuilding of Jerusalem, God steps in at the appropriate time to continue His plan.

God is as intimately involved in our lives as He was with Ezra’s life, and like Ezra we are sometimes enabled to do the impossible. Ezra did the impossible, for the hand the Lord his God was on him (Ezra 7:8). Every believer is a living temple (1 Corinthians 6:19) in which the Holy Spirit dwells. The opposing forces in Ezra’s day were people with evil in their hearts. The opposing force in our Christian lives today is evil himself, Satan, who has come to destroy us and in turn destroy God’s temple (John 10:10). Our goals should be worthy in God’s eyes as well as our own. Yesterday’s sorrows can be today’s successes if the hand of the Lord is upon us. Ezra’s goal was worthy in God’s eyes, and he effectively used the returning Jews’ sorrows for the success of rebuilding God’s city and restoring worship.

WEEK # 3 QUESTIONS:
Questions for Review

1. What time frame does the Book of Ezra cover?
2. Did the Israelites willingly go back to Judah?
3. How could the Israelites afford to rebuild the Temple?
4. What happened to all the temple wares that Nebuchadnezzar took?
5. Did Zerubbabel help rebuild the Temple?
6. Was the task done without conflict?
7. What else happened to hinder them?
8. What prophets were alive during Darius' reign?
9. Did they help rebuild the Temple?
10. So they began rebuilding again during Darius' reign in Babylon (Persia)?
11. What got them going again?
12. Who opposed the rebuilding now? And he complained to Darius? And the document was found?
13. How did Darius respond?
14. Did Darius see God as being real?
15. Was there a 2nd Artaxerxes of Persia?
16. Was Ezra a priest?
17. Where was Ezra from?
18. Was Ezra liked by Artaxerxes 2?
19. Why was Ezra so well liked by God?
20. While they were exiled those 50+ years, what did many of the Jews do?
21. Even Jewish leaders and officials did this?
22. What is considered a right attitude toward God's word?
23. What baffled Ezra?
24. What did the Israelites do to fix the error of intermarriage?
25. What lessons can we glean from this?

Weekly Word # 3: Seven Branched Lampstand
Our weekly reading for this week: Ezra 7-9


message 2: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 1930 comments Mod
Sharing information I found……………..


Kings of Babylon/Persia: (Cyrus, Artaxerxes, Darius II)
Ezra Time Frame: (537BC-456BC)
Nehemiah Time Frame: (445BC-432BC)

King Cyrus Time (559BC-530BC)
King Xerxes I Time: (465BC-424BC)
King Darius I Time: (423BC-404BC)

I studied the life of (Xerxes I or Ahasuerus or even Artaxerxes I), Queen Esther, Queen Vashti, and the Persian kings, and it’s confusing, It’s important to note that none of these details are in the biblical account, and there is no way to confirm their veracity.

CYRUS --- (559 - 530 BC)
In the year 559 BC a thirty year old man named Cyrus, from the province of Anshan in Media, began his rise to power. Within twenty years he had conquered almost all the then known world, including Media, Persia, and Asia Minor. The nation he had not yet subdued, however, was Babylon, which at this time was perhaps the mightiest nation on earth. King Nabonidus of Babylon (the successor to Nebuchadnezzar), and his oldest son Belshazzar, were becoming increasingly concerned over the military successes of Cyrus. They set up elaborate defenses and prepared themselves for war. In 539 BC Cyrus marched upon Babylon, anticipating the "mother of all wars." However, when the Babylonians beheld the tremendous might arrayed against them, they threw open their gates and surrendered without a fight. Cyrus thus became the undisputed ruler of Asia, which came to be known as the Persian Empire.
With the capture of Babylon, Cyrus also became the new master of the exiled Jewish people. The Jews rejoiced over this political change, as conditions had grown increasingly severe under King Nabonidus. In his first year as monarch, Cyrus issued his famous decree allowing the Jews to return home and to rebuild their Temple (Ezra 1:1-4). All of this had been predicted before Cyrus was even born (Isaiah 44:28 - 45:13).
Oddly, many Jews did not want to return to Palestine. They had become established in this new land; many had been born and raised here; their homes and families and businesses were here. Also, they were now prospering under the leadership of Cyrus. Thus, only a remnant actually returned. There were a total of about 60,000 Jews who took advantage of Cyrus' gracious offer. They returned in three separate groups, led by three notable men --- Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah.
The first group set out on the 800 miles journey in 536 BC under the leadership of Zerubbabel, a prince of the house of David. Also in leadership positions were Joshua, a descendant of the priests, and Shesh-bazzar, who had charge of the sacred vessels of the Temple which King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem in 586 BC. According to Ezra 2:64-65, some 49,897 people made this journey back to Palestine in this first group. Their primary mission was to rebuild the city and the Temple, and to restore the worship of God in Jerusalem.
At first, the work progressed well. The foundation of the Temple was laid amid great rejoicing (Ezra 3:10-13). Initial enthusiasm gave way to despair, however, when they began to experience opposition from the peoples who were living in the land of Palestine at the time of their return.
• It was from these Jews who had not been taken captive, and who had intermarried with the pagans, that the Samaritans would come.
Ezra 4:4-5 points out that their opposition was so great, and their discouragement so deep, that all work on the Temple ceased for about 14 years. During this time of discouragement, Cyrus was killed in a battle with some nomads on the eastern frontier of his empire.


message 3: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 1930 comments Mod
WEEKLY PRAYER:

Father God, we come to in Jesus’ name, we honor You, we give glory and praise for the things You have done; Thank You for the gift You have put in our lives. Thank You for understanding us, and for Your grace and mercy in our lives. Help us to accept Your discipline, and honor Who You are. Please bless us so we want disappoint You. Help us to make it our priority to obey You in everything. Forgive us so we can enter into Your presence with thanksgiving in our hearts. Bless us to bold to come before You with all our problems, and our praises. We will enter Your gates with thanksgiving in our heart, and into Your courts with praises. Thank You, Father. Bless us to learn from all the mistakes we learn about King Hezekiah in this study. Help us to be bold like Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Zerubbabel, and all those prophets who came before us. Help us not to accept anything from the enemy, in Jesus’ name. Bless us to keep our temple clean and presentable and acceptable for Your Holy Spirit to dwell in us always. Thank You for Jesus bringing us out of captivity and darkness, and place us in Your marvelous light. AMEN.


message 4: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 1930 comments Mod
Week # 3 Our weekly word………

Seven Branched Lampstand

In the tabernacle, the lampstand was to be placed in the first section, called the Holy Place (Hebrews 9:2). The lamp was to be tended by Aaron and his sons so that its light never went out. The lampstand was to give forth light day and night (Exodus 27:20–21). The lampstand’s being the only source of light points directly to Christ as being the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5). Jesus is the “true light that gives light to everyone” (John 1:9) and the only way anyone can come to the Father (John 14:6). Jesus also calls His church the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), not of their own doing but because Christ is abiding in the church (John 1:4–5). A Christian who is shining with the light of Christ will live a godly life (1 Peter 2:9). Scripture is overflowing with references that compare and contrast light and darkness, believer and unbeliever, right up through the book of Revelation. In Revelation 1:20 Christ says the “seven lampstands are the seven churches.” The churches of Christ are to walk in the light of God (1 John 1:7) and spread the light of the gospel so that all people will glorify God (Matthew 5:16).


message 5: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 1930 comments Mod
WEEK # 3 ANSWERS:

1. What timeframe does the Book of Ezra cover?
The book of Ezra’s time frame is from (537 BC until 456 BC)
2. Did the Israelites willingly go back to Judah?
I believe some of them did! Some stayed in Persia, which was Esther and others. Only a remnant actually returned. There were a total of about 60,000 Jews who took advantage of King Cyrus’ gracious offer. They returned in three separate groups, led by three notable men of God, Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah.
3. How could the Israelites afford to rebuild the Temple? (Ezra 1:2-11)
“2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem. 5 Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem.6 And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered.7 Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; 8 Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.9 And this is the number of them: thirty chargers of gold, a thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty knives,10 Thirty basins of gold, silver basins of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand. 11 All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.”

4. What happened to all the temple wares that Nebuchadnezzar took?
The Babylonian general, Nebuzaraddan, was sent to complete its destruction. Jerusalem was plundered, and Solomon's Temple was destroyed. Most of the elite were taken into captivity in Babylon. He also distributed these captives into several colonies, and in the temple of Belus he deposited the sacred vessels of the temple of Jerusalem, and other rich spoils.
5. Did Zerubbabel help rebuild the Temple?
Yes, It took Zerubbabel two years to rebuild the foundation of the temple. Then construction was delayed by Samaritan settlers whose friendly overtures masked a hidden hostility (Ezra 4:1–5). As a result of the opposition to the temple construction, Persia withdrew support for the project, and for seventeen years the temple sat unfinished (Ezra 4:21). Finally, God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage and support Zerubbabel (Ezra 5:1–2), and the work on the second temple resumed. Four years later, in 515 BC, the temple was completed and dedicated with great fanfare (Ezra 6:16). The Jews also observed the Passover (Ezra 6:19). It’s interesting that Zerubbabel is never mentioned in connection with the dedication ceremonies, nor is his name mentioned again after Ezra 5:1.
6. Was the task done without conflict?
No, it was not! The Samaritan opposition brought construction to a halt in 536 B.C. Ezra 4:24 notes, “Then the work on the house of God that is in Jerusalem stopped, and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.” The temple project languished for 16 years, until 520 B.C.
7. What else happened to hinder them?
Other reasons crept in. At the time of Haggai’s prophecies, some Jews simply said that the timing was not right (Haggai 1:2). Yet the time was right for them to build their own homes. In fact, Haggai rebukes the people for their concern for their own houses while neglecting God’s house.
8. What prophets were alive during Darius' reign?
From my understanding of the bible, it was Daniel, Haggai, Zechariah, Nehemiah, Ezekiel, and Malachi, and also there were Zerubbabel and Jeshua.
9. Did they help rebuild the Temple?
Not all of them! I believe it was Zerubbabel and Jeshua, and other priests who went to rebuild the House of God.
10. So they began rebuilding again during Darius' reign in Babylon (Persia)?
Ezra 4:24 notes, “Then the work on the house of God that is in Jerusalem stopped, and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.” The temple project languished for 16 years, until 520 B.C.
11. What got them going again?
Haggai prompted the restart of the temple building project (Ezra 5:2). Once God’s people were back on track, the temple was soon completed, on March 12, 515 B.C. (Ezra 6:13-15). This fulfilled Jeremiah’s prediction of a 70-year captivity (Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10) that lasted from Nebuchadnezzar’s burning of the temple in the fifth month of 586 B.C. (2 Kings 25:8-9) until the new temple’s reopening in the twelfth month of 515 B.C. Ezra 5:1 Haggai and Zechariah, who received instructions from God in the 2nd year of Darius' reign, that the rebuilding would resume.
12. Who opposed the rebuilding now? And he complained to Darius? And the document was found?
Ezra 5:3 says Governor Tattenai of the west province to the Euphrates River. The letter was address to King Darius concerning King Cyrus’ decree to rebuild the House of God in Jerusalem; a search was made in Ezra 5:17.
13. How did Darius respond?
Ezra 6:1-12; Darius responded with a humble heart by sending a letter to the governor Tattenai to leave them alone and let the work continue.
14. Did Darius see God as being real?
Ezra 6:10; Yes. Darius wanted the priests to pray for him and his sons and offer up appropriate sacrifices for them.
15. Was there a 2nd Artaxerxes of Persia?
Ezra 7:1; Yes. He reigned during Ezra's time.
16. Was Ezra a priest?
Ezra 7:5; Yes. He came from Aaron's line; a scribe, well-versed in the Law of Moses. (v.11).
17. Where was Ezra from?
Ezra 7:6; He lived in Babylon, but he went to Jerusalem with some priests and Levites.
18. Was Ezra liked by Artaxerxes 2?
Ezra 7:6; Yes.
19. Why was Ezra so well liked by God?
Ezra 7:10; Because he determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those laws and regulations to the people of Israel.
Note: What a great life choice! How passionate are you to know God? God loves this attitude!
20. While they were exiled those 50+ years, what did many of the Jews do?
Ezra 9:2; They married pagans who worshipped idols.
21. Even Jewish leaders and officials did this?
Ezra 9:2; Yes.
22. What is considered a right attitude toward God's word?
Ezra 9:4; When one trembles when reading or hearing it.
23. What baffled Ezra?
Ezra 9; Israel's inability to keep themselves pure as God's holy people.
24. What did the Israelites do to fix the error of intermarriage?
Ezra 10:16; They divorced their pagan wives in a massive ceremony.
25. What lessons can we glean from this?
Lesson I: If you think Ezra's attitude toward his Maker was unusual, think again. You can have the same love for God that he did. He loved God's word and took it to heart, devoting his life to learning it and teaching it too. If you do this, you will be as free as can be on this earth. It is true that you will see the struggles of mankind a waste of time in comparison to knowing God intimately. I can't think of a better way to spend my time than learning who God is. I anticipate the forever world and am terrified at the same time. It just doesn't get better than this!
Lesson 2: Draw close to God no matter what your circumstances are. Ezra was in Babylon, loving God and drawing near. Wear out many bibles, marking them up as verses speak to you. When you can no longer see your notes, start afresh. I am so thankful to live at a time when I can easily acquire a fresh bible in the version of my choosing.
Lesson 3 = Powerful rulers do not intimidate God. He changes all hearts to do His will.


message 6: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 1930 comments Mod
Sharing……………………


Bible Timeline
537 BC The Proclamation of Cyrus Ezra 1

537 BC The Exiles Return Ezra 2

535 BC Temple Work Begins Ezra 3

534 BC Adversaries Hinder Temple Work Ezra 4

534 BC Artaxerxes Orders Work Stopped Ezra 4:17

520 BC Tattenai's Letter to Darius Ezra 5

520 BC Temple Work Resumed by Darius' Decree Ezra 6

515 BC Completion and Dedication of the Temple Ezra 6:16

458 BC Ezra Journeys to Jerusalem Ezra 7

458 BC Ezra Commissioned by Artaxerxes Ezra 7:11

457 BC Families Return to Jerusalem with Ezra Ezra 8

457 BC Ezra's reforms Ezra 9

456 BC Ezra's Prayer About Intermarriage Ezra 10


message 7: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 1930 comments Mod
Finished weekly reading……

Our weekly reading for this week: Ezra 7-9


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