Surprise! I still plan to teach the rest of Hebrews
but I want to deviate today and teach the first part
of the scheduled book of Ezra.
Joe Allen came over with a big ladder and helped me
on Tuesday to plug up a hole at the apex of the gable
end of my house where squirrels have gnawed a hole and
have become all too familiar to my attic!
I had a real good day - I had worked all day cleaning
gutters and re-raking much of the yard - Polly had
FAITH team visitation so I came in with her and went
up to the third floor
start my study on Ezra.
I was feeling very sore and like I was coming down with
something but the study was so interesting and timely
and the combination was a pleasant uncomfortable
When I was a kid we had a black neighbor by the
name of Dewey Stigall who told my Dad that he
bet that Dad had "climbed to the moon by now" as
many times as he had ascended the silo to feed silage
to the dairy cows.
Although my four or five times up the ladder doesn't
qualify for "the moon" - yet it felt like it.
I really enjoyed that study - at the time it seemed so
to dove-tail with what I recently have tried to get
across in Hebrews about Christ, our Great High
Priest, His work and the dangers of apostasy from
the faith once delivered unto the saints.
To me, this is a very important lesson (as all God's
Word, no doubt is) and very timely.
The background of this is God's attempt to plant
in Canaan, the
do His will and that the Messiah could come through
They failed in doing His will - their nation broke up
and went into captivity for seventy years as the Lord
II Chron. 36:12-17a, 21 Jer. 26:5-7
The importance of the lesson for our times is that
God has raised up His church to do His will in the
church age and that the Messiah will return someday
to take us to be with Him for ever in the air.
We should beware, as Christians that we fail not as
the Jews did - these things have been written for
our admonition upon whom the ends of the world
are come! I Cor. 10:11
During this time, the Persian people recognized a
single Supreme Deity - this throws light on the
whole history of the Jews under the Persians -
the friendly decrees of Darius, Artaxerxes,
and Esther and Mordecai under Ahasuerus - but this
must not be carried too far as the Persians believed
in other gods as well.
v. 1 - the first year of Cyrus - corresponds to
Daniel 5:30 when Belshazzar was overthrown.
Darius' role - general - father-in-law of Cyrus?? -
Jer. 25:11-12, 29:10-13
Daniel seems to have calculated the time - he had
spent his whole time in captivity - Dan. 9:2-19
v. 2 - "which is
into which the ruined city had fallen - the
clause is repeated in the next verse.
v. 3 - "his God be with him" - indicative of the deep
religious feeling and goodness of heart
* The Greek, AEschylus calls him kindly or gracious.
* Herodotus (Greek historian) says he ruled his subjects
like a father
* Xenophon (Greek historian) makes him a modern prince
* Plutarch (Greek biographer & moralist) observes that "in
wisdom, virtue & greatness of soul he excelled all other
* Diodorus ascribes to him a remarkable power
of self-command, together with good feeling and
* Cicero - the Latin writer - says no nobler character
appears in history
* The Bible seems to back them up
"he that is
least in the
he" - speaking of John the Baptist
What shall it be said of you or me?
vs. 5-6 - the Crux of the Matter
Our behavior today is not without precedent!
vs. 7-11 -
Sacred vessels which were used in the temples service/
put up in
desecrated them at his banquet
A careful record should be kept of the families
by which the state of
Already, a large number of the Jews among the
captives, who could not show their father's house,
whether they were of
The kind of men that came back from the captivity.
They appear to have been men, in the main, loving
the old state of things - conservative, if you will - in
politics keeping in the person of Zerubbabel their chief
ruler, to the ancient dynasty of David. (It was through the
seed of David that God had promised the Messiah)
In church matters, the returning exiles showed their
strong respect for precedents and the past by submitting
to Jeshua as the chief priest -
Haggai 1:1,14 - "came the word of the Lord" - "the
Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel...
and the spirit of Joshua...the high priest"
Another example of their conservatism was the special
importance put on the question of genealogy. A strong
clannish spirit and a great desire to be and do as in
"the old times before them"
Jer. 6:16, 18:15
They were returning refugees, not colonists, men
called upon to merely rebuild and restore, and
not to DEVISE and CREATE!
Among the first signals of division, devision if
there is such a word, was Polly telling me of
an lady, who no longer goes to this church, saying
"this music doesn't touch me" - apparently in
the contemporary movement, it is really about
me after all!
The number of those who returned from the Captivity.
vs. 64-65 - around 50,000 all told - how different from
the 600,000 "that were men", beside women and
children that had come up out of
There are thirty-five families or groups mentioned
here and what are
they among the thousands of
Compare this list with the one in ch. 8 and you will
see names of members of these thirty-five families
who did not come back at the first, but came later.
vs. 36-39 - Concerning the priests - although about ten
per cent of the priests returned, only four courses out of
twenty-four, were represented.
vs. 40-42 -Three hundred and forty-one Levites out of
38,000 in David's time but again, in the days of David
and Solomon, it was
the hay-day of
I wonder if in
v. 41 - "the singers of Asaph" - compare I Chron. 25:1-6
The singers and musicians were drawn from the three
great branches of Levi"
Gershon - four through Asaph
Kohath - six through Jeduthun
Merari - fourteen through Heman
It is remarkable that no descendants of either Heman
or Jeduthun took part in the return.
New Testament example - III John 9 - "Diotrephes, who
loveth to have the preeminence among them,
receiveth us not"
v. 59 -
Lose hope, lose faith, the care of this world -
etc. - Matt. 13:22 -
Demas - II Tim. 4:10 - "Demas has forsaken me,
having loved this present world, and
v. 63 -
Through sin something is lost that is never
v. 65 - Nehemiah says two hundred and forty-five,
and so the apocryphal Esdras - Perhaps,
in the great default of Levites, the service
of these persons may have been used to
swell the sacred choruses of the time -
ch. 3:10 - Hence, it may be, the mention of
this otherwise unimportant fact?
Zech. 4:6 - Bro. Christian's first sermon text at
Special Names : we find this second entrance into
Canaan, this return from the Babylonian
captivity, headed, spiritually, by one
bearing the greatest of Jewish names -
Zech. 3:8-10, 6:11-13
These names - Jeshua,
are read into Heb. 7:9-10
Jesus Christ - the High Priest of the Universe -
"To Him give all the prophets witness, that
through His name whosoever believeth in
Him shall receive remission of sins" - Acts 10:43
And let us not forget v. 21 - one step of the many
steps taken to fulfill the prophecy of Micah 5:2 -
the place where heaven came nearest to earth!
Zerubbabel - the name of a direct ancestor of
the Messiah Himself - Matt. 1:13-16
The ruins were carefully examined, the site of the
old altar was ascertained, and care was taken to
put the new one in its place.
v. 1 - "the people gathered themselves together as
v. 2 - "then stood up Jeshua"
"as it is written in the Law" - it was an express
command of God to the Israelites that sacrifice
should be offered
which He should appoint.
v. 3 - "And they set the altar upon his bases....
and they offered burnt offerings thereon
unto the Lord"
They said nothing about the same message with just
a different presentation because they were bound
as Moses was when God said "See....look that thou
make all things according to the pattern shewed
thee on the mount"********
They built the new altar upon the foundations
of the old one, making it exactly conform to them.
This was done, no doubt, to indicate that the
religion which the exiles brought back from
which they had possessed prior to be carried
away into captivity.
v. 4 - "As it is written" - The Feast of the Tabernacles -
for seven consecutive days - Lev. 23:31-42
"the daily burnt offerings by number,
according to custom" - Deut. 29:13-38 -
we understand that all the particulars were
God's reaction at the first altar - Exodus 29:43-46
"morning and evening" - the very pulse of the
Jewish religious life - perpetual intercession -
How important under the gospel dispensation for
the perpetual intercession of Christ!
He needeth not - Heb. 7:27
"seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them"
Herein is our pulse of life -
The final result - finished toil - permanent habitation -
I Kings 8:65-66
When We All Get to Heaven!
SPIRITUAL PEDIGREE - I think of all who live in
the world today who are basically dead - dead to life -
dead to God - dead to Jesus Christ - dead to the
Posterity - Ps. 127:3-5
lost her life on her
wedding day in
Ky - Oct. 20, 1928
Mrs. Spurgeon - would have been a witness in the
Judgment against her son Charles, had he
not accepted Jesus Christ as his personal
"whoso shall offend one of these little ones which
believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone
were hanged about his neck, and that he were
drowned in the depth of the sea" - Matt. 18:6
The odds of being born - sperm count - egg -
then after being born against all odds, then to
miss the purpose of life, to lose one's soul - "oh,
think of the masses of humanity "without God
and without hope in the world"
Bill Gaither Homecoming Christmas Music