The Temple

Ezra the second temple.

Jeremiah chapter 15 verse 11: Israel will serve the king of Babylon 70 years.

We can thank Ezra for the division of the historical books as well as first and second Chronicles together with the book Ezra.

In his time the temple was restored and the law taught. 

Salomon build the first temple, it stood until the time of Herod. There will be a third temple before Christ second return; the book of Revelation confirms it.

2 Chronicles chapter 36 verse 6: King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon captured king Jehoiakim and led him to Babylon. He like vise also took the various valuables in the temple and kept them in his own temple in Babylon.

Then Nebuchadnezzar appointed various kings to rule the land, with the result that they rebelled against him.

Eventually Israel were attacked by the king of Kela (a successor of Noah who build the city of Nineveh in Irag.) He burned down the temple and kills many.

Those who managed to escape were captured and taken to Babylon, where they had to work as slaves. 

Book of Psalms chapter 66 verse 10:Thou has tried us with fire O God as silver is refined in a crucible.

 The people were forced into exile because of their transgression by neglecting the keeping of the Sabbath, but God had long in advance prepared for their return after seventy years captivity in the Babylonian empire. 

Leviticus chapter 23 -explains the rules and regulations about the religious festivals, which were strictly to be obeyed. The Sabbath was a day of rest and no work was permitted on that day. Every 7 year the harvest was not to be gathered, it was a Sabbath year, a year of rest for the land.

The law had to be given before the crucifixion; because where there is no law, there can be no judgement.

A true conviction had to take place among the rulers of the Babylonian Persian Empire, before the people could begin rebuilding the temple. Ezra and Nehemiah were key figures in this era. Daniel was, at that time, in captivity in the Babylonian empire. He understood, from the prophet Jeremiah, that their exile would last 70 years. The year coincides with king Cyrus call to build the temple in 536 BC.

Daniel stood in for his people, at the same time, with fasting and prayer. God sent mighty angels to explain to him the plan for the future right up to the end of this present age. 

There are historical books that explain what happened, when king Cyrus rode into Jerusalem after conquering the land. The chief priest, at that time, meet him in priestly garment and shoved him, in the role from the prophet Isaiah, that it was predicted 200 years before, what he was to do for the God of heaven. 

Book of proverbs chapter 21 verse 1:God can guide the hearts of kings as fountains of water. 

The knowledge of the God of Israel was given to Cyrus by his mother the Jewish Quinn Ester, Mordecai and Nehemiah. He was brought up in Jewish training and taught about God. 

A large portion of the bible 45% is based on prophesies that has either happened or will happen in the future. It makes Israel a witness, to the world, a mighty God will ultimately take responsibility for what happen on this earth. He is also a God, who has given us a free choice, to be for or against him. It is impossible to be neutral for God is testing the hearts. 

Ezra chapter 1:King Cyrus felt honored to be chosen to build the God of heaven a temple. In verse 5 -we see, that some of the first to respond to king Cyrus call to return were the tribes of Judah and Benjamin together with priests and Levites.

King Cyrus also gave back the treasures that were taken from the temple. He like wise promised to supply for the various sacrifices according to the Jewish temple regulations. 

Ezra chapter 1 verse 3:May his God be with him and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the lord God in Jerusalem.

Chapter 2: About 50,000 people initially immigrated to Jerusalem in Judah. 

The names of the tribes and the number of people are listed in the chapter.

They brought with them their livestock like horses, camels and donkeys in large numbers.

Chapter 3: The altar is made ready and the daily sacrifice introduced. The people began to celebrate the various religious festivals. 

When the foundation of the temple was made, after many preparations, the joy was very great among the people, especially among the elders who had experience the first temple.

One can compare the situation to the first and the latter rain. The temple had to be established before Jesus first coming, the first rain. There has to be a third temple before Jesus second coming, the second rain.    

Chapter 4 verse 2:Resistance to rebuilding the temple began from various people. It was people who was brought up from Babylon and other cities with the intend to occupy Samaria. They too would like to join in the rebuilding of the temple, because they also worshipped the God of heaven. That might be true, but they did not cease to worship their own gods at well.  

Those adversaries tried to discourage the people in building the temple all the days of king Cyrus. 

See 2 King chapter 17 verse 24.

Zerubbabel and Jeshua together with the heads of the tribes denied them the task of being involved with the temple. 

The Jews were from the beginning chosen to be a separate people. They did also not intermarried with tribes outside their own, because they were to be an example to the rest of the world.

In chapter 7: Eventually the work was stopped by king Artaxerxes after some fort and back. A letter was written, but not in favor of the Jews, resulting in a search being made in the achieves and based on the fact, that the Jews in time past, had occupied and collected tax from surrounding countries, did result in the work being stopped for the time being.

Haggai chapter 1- God is urging the people to continue building the temple.

Verse 6– you have sown much and bring in little.

You eat and drink, but you do not have enough.

You clothe yourself, but you are not warm.

He who earns wages put it into a bag with holes.

God is basically saying:Because you stopped working on the temple, you have great needs.

Chapter 5: Encouraged by the prophet Haggai and Zachariah the work continued. At the same time a letter was sent to king Darius, with the request to make a search in the archives concerning the words of king Cyrus regarding the rebuilding of the temple.

Chapter 6: After king Darius had investigated the matter, he commanded the rebuilding of the temple. 

Verse 6: He also sent message to the various officials on the Euphrates River not to hinder the work. So the people finished the work on the temple.

Verse 13: The temple is completed and consecrated.

Verse 18: Then the priest and the Levites were divided into teams and organized to carry out the temple service according to the instruction given in the book of Moses.

Chapter 7:The lineage of Ezra can be traced back to the priest Aaron the brother to Moses. He was a skilled scribe in the law in of Moses. The king granted him all his request according to the hand of the Lord that was upon him.

Please notice- that in in the Old Testament the hand of the Lord was upon people when a sudden task was to be done, because they had not jet received the Holy Spirit.

In the New Testament it is the leading of the Holy Spirit that guide the heart of believers that makes the difference. Although the Holy Spirit also come upon people today in sudden situations, as the Lord requires it.  

Ezra did not travel alone to Jerusalem, there were many that followed him as listed in chapter 8.

By the time the temple was finished 70 years must have passed, just as

Jeremiah prophesied in chapter 30.   

A great deal of what Jeremiah wrote and prophesied was about the transgression of the people in Judah and Israel. 

If we look carefully through the book of Jeremiah, we can observe, that not much of the sin nature of people has changed in our todays civilization. God also does call people to repentance today as in time past.

Today’s world is a mix of good and evil; only in the end time will God divide the seed and the tare according to his good will. 

Chapter 9 verse 4: Ezra noticed, after some month of his arrival, that many of the Jews had married woman outside their own people.

Verse 11 onwards – They were not to intermarry with people outside their tribe because of the abomination and the uncleanness of those people.

God promised to make them strong and to prosper them and to leave the land as an inheritance to their children forever. 

Deuteronomy chapter 7 verse 6:  You are to be a holy chosen people to the lord your God.  

Verse 3: When Ezra noticed this, he tore his cloths and plucked out some hair of his head and beard and sat down astonished, then he began to make confession for the people with fasting and prayer.

Chapter 10: Some of the people took the matter in their hand and went to talk to Ezra. They suggested making a covenant with God by promising to send the foreign wife with the children back to their country in order to clean the land.

Ezra then continued fasting and mourning, as he brought the guilt of the people before the Lord.

This should teach us, that God, from the beginning; newer accepted other gods and religions. His choice was and is to separate us from idols or anything that could take the first place in our life. We should be aware of, that the people at that time, did not have the word, but were taught by the priest the rules and regulation required to follow the God of heaven.

Chapter 10 verse 7-8:A proclamation was made through out Judah and Jerusalem to all the descendants of the captivity that thy must gather in Jerusalem with in 3 days. Whoever did not follow the instruction of the leaders, his property would be confiscated and he himself would be separated from the assembly of those from the captivity.   

Verse 10 onwards– when the people were assembled, Ezra stood up and confronted them with the transgression by taking pagan wife and thereby adding

too the guilt of Israel.

All the people answered and said with a loud voice: As you have said we will do.   

The matter was not finished in on day because there were many of them.

It took several months to question all the families. 

It must have been a great sacrifice for the people to send away even their own children. In the Old Testament the rules had to be obeyed, otherwise God could not stand to his promise either, the promise of a savior to the world to over come even death and to lead us into eternity.