Monday, February 16, 2009

Temple Foundation Ezra 3

Ezra 3:10 "And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel."

Building again the temple was not just erecting any old building. The temple was where the LORD had chosen to put his name. Besides the place where offerings were made for the sins of the people, the temple symbolized the nation Israel. When the temple was torn down and Jerusalem destroyed (the walls and gates and many houses), symbolically, it was the end of the nation Israel. Now, the LORD remembers those he has scattered (because of their sin) and this is among the first steps of bringing them back. We have dealt with and will again, king Nebuchadnezzar who took the children of Israel away into captivity. Cyrus who ordered the rebuilding, Artaxeres and Darius. It was not a small thing for a band of Jews to go back into Israel and began laying the foundation of the temple amidst those who were having a good time reaping profits from the land.

v3 "And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening."

There were some prominent men who led the building. Jeshua, Zerubbabel, Kadmiel and no doubt others. But note is made that these men stood up. Then they got the building started.

So the foundation was laid and they rejoiced with song and shouts of joy. There were some very old men there who remembered the glory of the original temple. They had different feelings:

v12 "But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy."

So there was a mixed reaction but overall, the shout of joy made it impossible to distinguish the sounds of sadness. We cannot always wait for past glory before we rejoice, things seldom are like they use to be.

v13 "So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off."

That noise heard afar off will bring them trouble in the next chapter.

Zechariah 4:6 "Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."

Temple foundation is laid after the return from captivity.

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