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BIBLE STUDY > Bible Study: EZRA AND NEHEMIAH Wk # 4

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Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 2025 comments Mod
“Re-Building God’s Temple”
Week # 4

Subject: Who was Nehemiah? The work of Nehemiah:

Scripture Reading: Nehemiah

This book begins by stating that it's the first person account of Nehemiah.
He says that he was living in the Persian capital, Susa. His brother Hanani came to him, and Nehemiah asked him how the Jews who had left exile and returned to Jerusalem were doing. Hanani explains that they're in trouble: Jerusalem's wall is broken down and its gates have been burned. Nehemiah weeps, mourns, fasts, and prays for days. He asks God to listen to his words, as he repents for his family and his nation's failure to keep God's commandments. He admits that God told them all this would happen when he gave the law to Moses. But he also promised that he'd gather them from exile if they managed to keep his commandments again.
Nehemiah asks God for success and mercy in the mission he's about to undertake.
He ends by noting that he was cupbearer to the King of Persia, at this time. This was a pretty important position, so he was really close with the king.
Nehemiah:
Book of Nehemiah. In the 20th year of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, (445/444 BC), Nehemiah was cup-bearer to the king. Learning that the remnant in Judah were in distress and that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, he asked the king for permission to return and rebuild the city.
Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries, and they both wrote about the rebuilding of Jerusalem, which occurred many years after its destruction by the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar. Ezra wrote about the rebuilding of the temple under Zerubbabel, while Nehemiah wrote concerning the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls. From ancient times, the cities located in the Middle East were surrounded by stone walls with gates that were guarded for the protection of the citizens. The important men of each city would gather at the gate where they would conduct the business of the city, share important information, or just pass the time of day. Nehemiah’s account begins in 445 B.C., and this date is important because the prophet Daniel, a contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah, wrote the “70 weeks of years” prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) based on a very specific date—March 15, 445 B.C. This date is crucial to the beginning of the prophecy; it kicks off the start of the timeframe, which ends with the second coming of Jesus Christ. This prophecy was written long before Jesus came the first time, but it continues through those years leading up to His being “cut off.” It gives details about the antichrist, how he will come onto the world scene, and how he will move against Israel in his final assault on God and His people.

Daniel’s prophecy is found in Daniel 9:25: "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.” Little did Nehemiah know that he was fulfilling the prophecy written by Daniel, but this faithful servant, who was also captive in Babylon at the time, begins his writings with intercessory prayer for his people, Israel, just as Daniel constantly prayed on their behalf, beseeching God to have mercy on them and return them to their home land. Nehemiah listed specific dates, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in order that there might be a written record as to the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem.

Before he asked the king’s permission to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls, Nehemiah prayed, and God granted his request. As he was leaving Babylon, he met some Arab men who mocked him for what he was about to do. Nehemiah 2:20 records his statement, which stands even today as a testament to who has the right to the city known as Jerusalem: “I answered them by saying, ‘The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.’"

Nehemiah continued in his quest to rebuild Jerusalem. God provided all the necessary workers, and the building began. However, they were not without enemies, those who desired to stop the rebuilding. But God intervened as He had done with Moses (Exodus 14:14). Nehemiah 4:20 records, "Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!" This was God’s pre-ordained plan to bring His people out of bondage and back into their land to worship in the temple once again.

We can learn from the life of Nehemiah valuable lessons in restoring and maintaining a relationship with God. As the people returned to the rebuilt city, the first order of business was to make certain that they understood the Law of Moses. So Ezra, a priest, spent many hours reading the Law before the assembly, making sure they understood what God desired. Nehemiah 8:18 records what should be part of every believer’s life, the daily reading of God’s Word: “Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God. They celebrated the feast for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly.”

Nehemiah stands as a testament to faithfulness and perseverance. He lived far away from his home, yet he never gave up hope that someday he would return to it. He spent most of his life in exile in a pagan land, yet he never wavered in his faith and trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was a prayer warrior, putting everything before the Lord in prayer, interceding on behalf of his people, and he was rewarded for his diligence and perseverance. Nehemiah cared so much for his people that he never gave up the hope of their restoration, not only to their homeland, but to the God that first called their forefather, Abraham, out of the same area and made a covenant with him, one which Nehemiah believed would stand forever.
Restoration of Covenant Life, Phase Two; Ezra and Nehemiah together (Nehemiah 8:1-13:31).
After the wall surrounding Jerusalem was completed, the Israelites gathered in Jerusalem in order to renew their covenant with God. Ezra reappeared at this point in order to read the Law to the people (Neh. 8:2-5). As they heard the Law, they wept (Neh. 8:9). Yet Nehemiah rebuked them for their sorrow, adding, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord” (Neh. 8:10). However central work might be to serving God, so is celebration. On holy days, people are to enjoy the fruits of their labors as well as sharing them with those who lack such delights.
Yet, as Nehemiah chapter 9 demonstrates, there was also a time for godly sorrow as the people confessed their sins to God (Neh. 9:2). Their confession came in the context of an extensive recital of all the things God had done, beginning with creation itself (Neh. 9:6) and continuing through the crucial events of the Old Testament. The failure of Israel to be faithful to the Lord explained, among other things, why God’s chosen people were “slaves” to foreign kings and why those kings enjoyed the fruits of Israelite labors (Neh. 9:36-37).
Among the promises made by the people as they renewed their covenant with the Lord was a commitment to honor the Sabbath (Neh. 10:31). In particular, they promised not to do business on the Sabbath with “the peoples of the land” who worked on this day. The Israelites also promised to fulfill their responsibility to support the temple and its workers (Neh. 10:31-39). They would do so by giving to the temple and its staff a percentage of the fruit of their own work. Now, as then, the commitment to give a percentage of our income to support the “service of the house of our God” (Ezra 10:32) is both a necessary means of financing the work of worship and a reminder that everything we have comes from God’s hand.
After completing his task of building the wall in Jerusalem and overseeing the restoration of society there, Nehemiah returned to serve King Artaxerxes (Neh. 13:6). Later, he came back to Jerusalem, where he discovered that some of the reforms he had initiated were thriving, while others had been neglected. For example, he observed some people working on the Sabbath (Neh. 13:15). Jewish officials had been letting Gentile traders bring their goods into Jerusalem for sale on the day of rest (Neh. 13:16). So Nehemiah rebuked those who had failed to honor the Sabbath (Neh. 13:7-18). Moreover, in his typically pragmatic approach, he closed the city gates before the Sabbath began, keeping them shut until the day of rest had passed. He also stationed some of his servants at the gates so that they might tell potential sellers to leave (Nehemiah 13:19).
The question of whether and/or how Christians ought to keep the Sabbath cannot be answered from Nehemiah. A much broader theological conversation is necessary. Nevertheless, this book reminds us of the centrality of Sabbath-keeping to God’s first covenant people and the threat posed by economic interaction with those who do not honor the Sabbath. In our own context, it was certainly easier for Christians to keep the Sabbath when the malls were closed on the Lord’s Day. However, our contemporary culture of round-the-clock commerce puts us in Nehemiah’s situation, in which a conscious — and potentially costly — decision about Sabbath-keeping is required.

WEEK # 4 QUESTIONS:
Questions for Review
1. How does Nehemiah identify himself?
2. What was Nehemiah's job in Susa?
3. How long was Nehemiah governor of Judah?
4. Was God in Nehemiah's desire?
5. What did Nehemiah desire to do?
6. Did the king let him go?
7. How did Nehemiah distinguish himself from the other Israelites?
8. Why did he do this?
9. What is the correct way to respond when enemies come against us and/or wish us harm?
10. What benefits does sticking with your mission through times of trouble have?
11. Does God exonerate His people when one's respected friends trash them before their mutual friends?
12. Did folks in Old Testament times lift their hands toward heaven, shout "Amen!" and chant "Amen!" while praising God?
13. When the bible was read, did they just read it or did they stop to explain each part?
14. What is the strength of the believer?
15. The Israelites celebrated the Festival of Shelters during Nehemiah's time. When was the last time it was celebrated properly?
16. This celebration of the Temple along with Jerusalem being rebuilt and completed was a special time. On what day did the people confess their sins to one another?
17. That's interesting. What else set October 31 apart?
18. What causes people to praise God so greatly?
19. What else does knowing God's word bring?
20. What was the irony of this era of the Jews?
21. What time period does Nehemiah cover?
22. What lessons can we benefit from in Nehemiah?


Weekly Word # 4: Table of Shewbread

Our weekly reading for this week: Ezra 10- Nehemiah 1-2


message 2: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 2025 comments Mod
WEEK # 4: WEEKLY PRAYER………

O my Father, this study reminds me of Your incredible nearness to me, even within me. Forgive me when I have not realized Your presence in me through the Holy Spirit. Forgive me when I have devalued myself and my body as a temple of Your holy presence. Please be glorified in who I am, what I say, how I live, and what I think. To You be all glory, in Jesus' name and through your Spirit's presence. Lord God, bless all to know this day that You will dwell in them when invited; please help them to accept You, Jesus, as their Savior, in Jesus’ name, Amen.


message 3: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 2025 comments Mod
Sharing…………

Roman 8:11 says,

11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit just as it says in these scriptures

1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

1 Corinthians 6:15-20
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, "THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH." But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

Ephesians 2:19-22
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,

1 Peter 2:5
You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.


When this was written, temples were the places where the gods were thought to live. More than places of worship, these were places of presence. So when Paul reminds us that we are temples of God's presence through the Holy Spirit, he is saying something quite profound. God lives in us! We are the place of God's dwelling. We are holy temples, not because we cleansed ourselves or made ourselves into some incredible dwelling place but because God bought us with the price of Jesus' life. We are his purchased prime real estate so that his glorious presence can be seen in the world in which we live. As the place where God lives by his Spirit, we are challenged to honor and glorify God with our bodies, his temples. No matter how you may look at your physical appearance, remember this: you are holy, precious, and glorious because the King of Glory has made his home in you through the Holy Spirit!


message 4: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 2025 comments Mod
Week # 4 Our weekly word………Table of Shewbread

The bread of the Presence (also called the showbread or shewbread in some translations) was special bread always present on a table in the tabernacle (and later in the temple). Leviticus 24:5–7 describes this bread: “You shall take fine flour and bake twelve loaves from it; two tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. And you shall set them in two piles, six in a pile, on the table of pure gold before the Lord. And you shall put pure frankincense on each pile, that it may go with the bread as a memorial portion as a food offering to the Lord.” This bread of the Presence was 1) made of fine flour, 2) baked in 12 loaves, 3) arranged in two piles of six loaves each on a table of pure gold, 4) covered with frankincense, and 5) served as a memorial food offering to the Lord. The bread could only be eaten by Aaron and his sons in a holy place and was set out every Sabbath day (Leviticus 24:8–9). The bread of the Presence is first mentioned in Exodus 25:30. God instructed for it to be placed on the golden table in the tabernacle. The bread is also listed in the contributions for the tabernacle in Exodus 35:13 and noted as part of the completed tabernacle in Exodus 39:36. In Numbers 4 the Kohathites, who were sons of Levi, were given responsibility for the care of the table of showbread. First Chronicles 9:32 says, “Also some of their kinsmen of the Kohathites had charge of the showbread, to prepare it every Sabbath.” This bread was likely prepared on each Friday and placed in the tabernacle on each Sabbath in two piles of six. It would be replenished each week, allowing the priests to eat fresh bread in the holy place. At one point in David’s life, when he was on the run from Saul, he asked the priest Ahimelech for food. The priest gave David the bread of the Presence, since it was the only bread available (1 Samuel 21:1–6). David was not a priest, so it was technically unlawful for him to eat the showbread. Jesus later refers to this event, using it as proof that the Law was designed for man’s benefit, and that Christ is Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1–8; Mark 2:25–27; Luke 6:3–5). The Old Testament showbread placed on the table in the tabernacle provides a wonderful picture of Jesus, the Bread of Life. Jesus is holy before God, He provides true sustenance, and He is always present. “Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry’” (John 6:35). One other New Testament reference, Hebrews 9:1–2, mentions the table of showbread as one of the items in the first section of the tabernacle. Also included in that place was the lampstand. Verse 15 notes, “Therefore [Jesus] is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.” The context explains that the important aspects of the Jewish law were no longer necessary since Christ has become high priest once and for all.


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Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 2025 comments Mod
WEEK # 4 ANSWERS:

Questions for Review
1. How does Nehemiah identify himself?
Nehemiah introduces himself as the writer.

2. What was Nehemiah's job in Susa?
He refers to himself as a “cupbearer of the king of Persia.”(v.11)

3. How long was Nehemiah governor of Judah?
Nehemiah 5:14 says 12 years.

4. Was God in Nehemiah's desire?
Yes. God put it in his heart to rebuild Jerusalem; Nehemiah 2:12.

5. What did Nehemiah desire to do?
He desire to please God by rebuilding Jerusalem. Nehemiah 2:5

6. Did the king let him go?
Yes. King Artaxerxes II honored every request concerning Nehemiah's return and provisions. Nehemiah 2:8

7. How did Nehemiah distinguish himself from the other Israelites?
Nehemiah didn't take a food paycheck because former governors did that with gusto. He also paid to feed 150 Jewish officials who ate at his table out of his own pocket. Nehemiah 5:14

8. Why did he do this?
Because the people were struggling to survive already. The food paycheck came from their heavy taxes. Note: Do you have an opportunity to stand out for God? Be a testimony through personal sacrifice. Just do it! Nehemiah 5:18

9. What is the correct way to respond when enemies come against us and/or wish us harm?
Continue in God's work no matter what. If you are doing something great for God, opposition will come! Nehemiah 6:9

10. What benefits does sticking with your mission through times of trouble have?
It brings fear and humiliation to your enemies because they will realize that God has helped your mission be successful. Nehemiah 6:15-16

11. Does God exonerate His people when one's respected friends trash them before their mutual friends?
Yes. But sometimes it takes a while. Stick to the mission! Nehemiah 6:17-19

12. Did folks in Old Testament times lift their hands toward heaven, shout "Amen!" and chant "Amen!" while praising God?
Yes! They even bowed down with their faces to the ground to worship God. Nehemiah 8:6

13. When the bible was read, did they just read it or did they stop to explain each part?
They went through it slowly so they could explain each part. Nehemiah 8:8

14. What is the strength of the believer?
The joy of the Lord! I love this scripture! Nehemiah 8:10

15. The Israelites celebrated the Festival of Shelters during Nehemiah's time. When was the last time it was celebrated properly?
When Joshua was prophet! Nehemiah 8:17

16. This celebration of the Temple along with Jerusalem being rebuilt and completed was a special time. On what day did the people confess their sins to one another?
October 31. Note: Halloween, a totally non-God national day, totally distracts from the real use of the day. Think about it: God's people confess their sins to one another. A day of repentance. Later, Halloween became a gruesome day of hell let loose. Today, we forget the dark side of Halloween, still a day of havoc in some places. Children receive sweet gifts from kind adults and we get acquainted with neighbors and elderly shut-ins. I like the original celebration, don't you? The completion of a mission and the confessing of sins to one another. How righteous is that? Nehemiah 9:1

17. That's interesting. What else set October 31 apart?
1). God's people separated themselves from all foreigners
2). They heard the Word read to them for 3 hours
3). They worshipped God for 3 hours
4.) Some Levites stood on stairs, crying out to God, and later, ordered the people to stand up and praise God too. Nehemiah 9:2
Note: No wonder Satan has corrupted this day! Halleluiah! What a day!

18. What causes people to praise God so greatly?
The reading and understanding of God's word. You can't help but praise God for His awesome love. Nehemiah 9:5-31

19. What else does knowing God's word bring?
Life, if people obey God's word. Nehemiah 9:29

20. What was the irony of this era of the Jews?
They were in the land of plenty, having an abundance, yet still slaves to Persia. Nehemiah 9:36
21. What time period does Nehemiah cover?
During Ezra's time. Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem after Ezra. Nehemiah 1:1

22. What lessons can we benefit from in Nehemiah?
Lesson 1: While we are focused, as the Israelites were at the ceremony that went on for days, we love God and praise God. But when life resumes its routine, we don't think of God in everything. We need to focus. The Holy Spirit helps us to stay focused.
Lesson 2: Don't compromise; learn from history; God loves you in any case. You do well for yourself to be in God's will.
Lesson 3: You may live out your whole life with an enemy close by. You may not have to today! Ask God to remove your enemy or else bring about peace between the two of you. God may decide to leave your enemy there for reasons you won't learn till the end of days. Nehemiah had such a challenge and was unable to alter his circumstances. Keep doing the ministry anyway!
Lesson 4: Our modern Sunday worship service resembles this celebration!


message 6: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 2025 comments Mod
Our weekly reading for this week:

Ezra 10- Nehemiah 1-2

I have finished reading up to Nehemiah 2 chapter; also, I am reading II Chronicles 28 chapter where King Hezekiah becomes king of Judah. Very interesting story!!


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