Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Building Resumed Ezra 5

Ezra 5:1 "Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.

We will need to look at parts of these two books of the Bible to see what they said. They are located near the end of the Old Testament just before Malachi.

v2 "Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them."

At this time it seems there were four men working on the temple: Haggai, Zechariah, Zerubbabel and Jeshua (Joshua in the mentioned books).

Then came the adversaries and confronted the builders wanting to know who told them they could start building again. Remember Cyrus told them to do so, then Artaxerxes stopped them after the governors told the king that it would take away his revenue. Now Darius is on the throne and the LORD has encamped at Jerusalem to see to the building.

v5 "But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter."

The letter to Darius from the counselors of the governors included the report that building had resumed against the orders of the previous king but it also included the testimony of the elders who told how Cyrus had ordered the building of the temple. It included a challenge to the king to search the records to see whether it was true. This goes to a legal term called a precedent. It means that if it has been done in the past by law makers, it can be done again based on that action, or something like that.

v17 "Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter."

The counselors asked for a ruling from the judge, in this case the king. The answer in the next chapter is not what they were expecting and dramatically turned the tide in favor of the children of Israel.

Ezra shows us what is happening in the physical world. Behind the scenes, so to speak, there is also action which we have to go to the prophets to find. As example, we will look at some verses in Zechariah:

The Lord speaking: Zechariah 1:15 "And I am sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction." The LORD intended to punish his people for their sin, he used the other nation to do so, but he was not pleased when they took it on themselves to increase the punishment.

v16 "Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem."

These chapters are very interesting: We have the LORD of Hosts, two angels and a prophet talking.

Chapter 2:3 "And behold the angel that talked with me went forth and another angel went out to meet him v4 And said unto him Run, speak to this young man, saying Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein. v5 For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her."

The tide has turned away from the heathen and in favor of the builders. Of course, it was the LORD who made the difference. We will close with this verse from Chapter 3:8 "For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

Temple work resumes.

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