Ezra

Chapter 3

"The Temple, Foundation and Feast."

This Bible Study is provided by http://www.theseason.org/ with permission from it's author R. Christopherson

Ezra 3:1 "And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the People gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem."

This is to say that all the people loyally and faithfully came to Jerusalem for these feast days.

Ezra 3:2 "Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God."

Jeshua means the high priest, and it is spelt Joshua in Haggai 1:1, 2:2. We know that Jozadak the son of Seraiah was the brother of Ezra, for they had the same father, as recorded in Ezra 7:1, and Jeshua [Joshua] the high priest then was the nephew to Ezra.

They are building the altar according to Moses' law, however they are overlooking the part of that same law which speaks strongly against having someone other then an Levitical Priest at that altar before God. In the Levitical priesthood, Aaron's sons got a little lazy in his delivering of this daily sacrifice, or offering and took their fire not from the Altar, but from their own stove at home, and God smote them dead. God simply doesn't like people messing around with his word.

The prophet Haggai gives us the same account of what is happening here at this time. Haggai 2:1; "In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the Lord by the Prophet Haggai, saying," This is the same time and the same place that we have just read in Ezra 3:1.

Haggai 2:2; "Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying," These are the same men, Zerubbabel, Shealtiel, Joshua [Jeshua]. and Jozadak from Ezra 3:2. When Haggai called them "residue" of the people, Haggai was right. Most of these people were not of Judah, or of any part of any of the tribes of Israel.

Haggai 2:3; "Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?" You just cannot compare the beautiful work of the Temple built by Solomon, with its marble and inlaid gold, and all its splendor and wealth, to this primitive wood structure.

This writing of Haggai is one of the things that convicted our Lord Jesus Christ, when He made the statement; "tare that Temple down and I'll rebuild it in three days". They simply did not know or believe that Jesus was the Messiah, and to them, it was mockery of the house of God, the Temple. When Jesus went to the cross, and arose from the dead, the Temple was no longer a structure built by man, but it became the body of believers of Jesus Christ.

What Haggai is saying here is that whether the building is made of gold and marble, or of cedar, it just doesn't matter.

Haggai 2:4; Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye People of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts:"

Did you get that, friend; "WORK", it doesn't say pray or have faith, Haggai said that God told them to work and get the job done. If you don't have time to study and say a word for Him, of what value are you in His kingdom? What ever your gift is that God has given you, that is what you are expected to do.

Haggai 2:5; "According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not." Just as God committed to the Israelites way back in Egypt, that His Spirit would be with them; God has not change and that Spirit is with them to this day. This is in reference to Exodus 29:45, 46.

Haggai 2:6; "For thus saith the Lord of hosts; "Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;" This is in reference to the "Lords day" that is coming shortly, at the sounding af the seventh trumpet.

Haggai 2:7; "And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts." The "desire of all nations" is the coming of the Messiah. That is what the building of the Temple is all about; our presence with the Messiah, and at the seventh Trumpet we will be in His presence. However, three days after the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, the Temple of this flesh age was also built, and that body of Christ, His believers are beautiful as they go about their service for him in praise and worship. That Temple is within each of the members of the body of Christ, and that is what gives each member peace and comfort.

Christ was speaking of the Temple as His own body, and the comforter is His own Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Christ has reminded us that He will never leave thee nor forsake thee. The things that were built into that wooden house of God was only types to show us today in a spiritual sense how God is delivering His people. God wrote His message way back then so that we would have a guide today, and the way most that church houses are teaching today, you are not getting it there, but only in your own study.

Ezra 3:3 "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."

These priests found the remains of the old altar, and that is where they put this new altar. They then established the morning and evening oblation. They did this because they loved the Lord, and they wanted His protection. This is simply remembering to ask God for forgiveness, and repenting for their sins. This is as important today, as it was then.

Ezra 3:4 "They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required;"

The feast of Tabernacles falls in late September of early October, depending on the year. All the offerings were made by the courses of the priests, and they were made in accordance with Exodus 23. Though they are keeping these feasts right to the letter, they are very careless about who they are allowing to perform their priestly duties. In the closing verses of Exodus 23 God told them to get rid of the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from their midst, yet here these Israelites of Judah have promoted them to priestly duties, as the Nethinims.

Yet as we saw in the first two chapters, these sons of Satan promoted themselves to the status of Israel, within the tribe of Judah. Not only did Judah not chase them out, but these Jews have them serving at this altar. Keep this point in mind; this is the exact point in time where the deception started to work itself into the church. This is also where and how these Kenites have presented themselves as the critics and authority for Christianity today.

Ezra 3:5 "And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the Lord that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the Lord."

These people were really trying, just like most people that attend church today, they want to do what is right. They are trying to do his work, without studying his word, and this can get you into difficulty. God's Knowledge is the beginning of the understanding and blessing of God.

Ezra 3:6 "Form the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the Lord. But the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid."

What happened here is that the worship started before the work began. The altar is on the old foundation of the old altar, but they simply overlooked the building of the house of God. they had a good idea, however don't expect God's blessings until after you do the work.

When Christ became our sacrifice on the cross, God said I don't want you burnt offerings anymore, Christ became our daily oblation [sacrifice] and from the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb, the oblation became our repentance, belief, and faith in Jesus Christ, and the service that He expects us, and that has become our daily oblation. Our oblation is praising and thanking Him for what He has done for each of us. When you pray for something, thank God in advance. When you even try, God will accept your effort as being perfect.

Ezra 3:7 "They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia."

In II Chronicles 2:16 we read that the ships of Tarshish sailed from Tyre, for that is where the center of Kenite trade was. Tyre was a little rock Island, which was just off the coast of Zidon, and it was the New York City of that day. These Kenites were more then willing to overcharge and take king Cyrus' money, gold and what ever he sent in advance. Cyrus had agreed to this, so there was nothing new to what was going on.

Ezra 3:8 "Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the Lord."

These people have been here now two years, and they have built the altar, and given Cyrus' money to the Kenites at Tyre, and now they have just started to appoint the men to build the house of the Lord. There has been a lot of praying and offering to this date, but no work on the Temple has been preformed. This is what the entire book of Haggai is all about, people putting their own work and time before the work of the Lord.

It seem that they all built themselves big nice houses before they even started to think of building God's house, and doing His work. There is a part here that most teachers overlook; "and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem". Though there were over a million of the House of Judah at this time, there were just over half of the forty two thousand that were part of what is going on here. The rest did not return to Jerusalem, but migrated to points elsewhere. This is only a type and an example, for many of these calling themselves Jews, and Nethinim [fake Jews] and not of the registry.

Ezra 3:9 "Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites."

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."

When the foundation was laid the people came together to praise God and to give thanksgiving to Him in the manner of the ordinance set forth by king David. The structure was underway, and the foundation was laid; this was a time to be thankful. It is easy to forget to say thanks for what we get, and to say thanks for the progress to this point, but this is according to the ordinance of David.

Ezra 3:11 "And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the People shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid."

It can never be stated more perfect; "because He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever toward Israel". This can be extended to include all of God's Children, who have come to know, love and trust in Him. Here it is more then two years later, and only the foundation is laid.

Ezra 3:12 "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:"

All the old people that were hauled into captivity over seventy years prior had seen the truly fine splendor of Solomon's Temple, and as they saw the crude workmanship of this new Temple, they could see the difference, and they cried aloud but not for joy.

When Christ went to the cross, and died and arose from the dead, that was the foundation of our Christian life. Christ is the foundation our salvation. It will be the offspring of many of those that are shouting and jumping for joy over the foundation of this poorly built structure, that be the very ones that would demand the death, and kill our Messiah, Jesus Christ 420 years later. Yes they shouted on that day also; "Crucify Him".

When Christ said "I will rebuild it in three days", they did not understand that it was the three days that He spent in the tomb, to satisfy the prophets writing of God's word; then He arose from that tomb, and this became the foundation of the new Temple.

Ezra 3:13 "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."

The people of Ezra's day observed two Temples, the first was a beautiful, with much splendor. However the people of our generation will also see and compare the third Temple, which is the body of Christ. The Temple today on earth is the body of Christ, and Paul talks about this Temple in Romans 12.4-6. "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: [4] So we, being many, are one body in christ, and every one members one of another. [5] Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportions of faith; [6]"

God is not telling us of a building, but of His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the foundation of that Temple, and the structure is formed in this period, or flesh age through the members that have different proportions of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus becomes the mercy seat in this new Temple, and in Zechariah 3, we have the prophetic view of Christ the Branch, the Temple of God and the promise and security that we can have in Him. Take and read Zechariah 3. Remember that Joshua in the Hebrew means "Jesus".

 

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