ch. 1


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 in the Educational Building to

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.


vs. 1-3


The background of this is God's attempt to plant

in Canaan, the Holy Land, a people that would

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

had said.


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?? -

ruled in Babylon until Cyrus came - 2 years later ?


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 in Judah" - as if to recall the oblivion

            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


Of Cyrus:


* 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 kingdom of God is greater than

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 - Temple utensils/trophies of Nebuchadnezzar



Sacred vessels which were used in the temples service/

put up in temple of Merodach or Bel - Belshazzar

desecrated them at his banquet



                                    ch. 2


Spiritual Pedigree


A careful record should be kept of the families

by which the state of Israel was to be re-established.


Already, a large number of the Jews among the

captives, who could not show their father's house,

whether they were of Israel or not! - vs. 59-63


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 Egypt many

            generations previously.


There are thirty-five families or groups mentioned

here and what are they among the thousands of Israel?


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 Israel.


I wonder if in America, our hay-day is passed?


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.


v. 42

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

            is departed...."







v. 63 -

Through sin something is lost that is never



vs. 65-67

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?


Small numbers?


Judges 7:2



Zech. 4:6 - Bro. Christian's first sermon text at

                   Second Baptist Church


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, Zerubbabel and Bethlehem,

            are read into Heb. 7:9-10


Jesus Christ - the High Priest of the Universe -

(Hebrews study)


"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








                                    ch. 3



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.


A Precedent


v. 1 - "the people gathered themselves together as

            one man"


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 only at Jerusalem in the place

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

Babylon was in every respect identical with that

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"

                                                Heb. 7:25



Herein is our pulse of life -


The final result - finished toil - permanent habitation -

peculiar joy!


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

Holy Spirit.


Posterity - Ps. 127:3-5

                   Luke 23:28-30


The Kentucky Explorer story of Drusilla Bates who

lost her life on her wedding day in Greenup County,

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


Christmas Music