"Opposition. letter to Darius: Cessation reason."
This Bible Study is provided by http://www.theseason.org/ with permission from it's author R. Christopherson
Because of what the Prophet Haggai has said, and the fact that there were so many foreigners, [Nephinim] doing the work within the Temple, I simply don't believe that the struggle to build the Temple was all that great.
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."
Notice that these two Prophets, Haggai and Zachariah prophesied "in the name of The God of Israel". This God of Israel is the God of all tribes of Israel, and now He is talking to the tribe of Judah and Benjamin [the Jews] who are part of those tribes.
Remember in Haggai the first chapter, the prophecy of Haggai came in the sixth month of that second year, and Zechariah's prophecy came two months later. Though these prophets were talking to these Jews of old, much of their prophecies were directed to the people living in the final generation. The reason each of these writings are directed to both generation is that the mind set of both peoples are identical. Everything is now and for the present, and there is no time for God.
Ezra 5:2 "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."
When the prophets of God are doing the work and helping build the Temple of God, then you will have the blessings of God on your work. The problem in most churches of today is that the prophets are left out of the work of building God's Temple of believers. When in fact most of the information [prophecy] directed to our generation is supplied by these Old Testament prophets. They let you know to look for, and the events that will come to pass before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ taught from the Old Testament, and that is why He continually said; "Do you not know, it is written;". If you desire to know what will transpire in the Millennium age, that is coming upon us today, you have to go to the prophets of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is not done away with, for every Word that God spoke is as current today as it was then. The only part that is fulfill from the Old Testament are those writing dealing with "blood sacrifices", and this is because Christ's death on the cross paid the price of all sin, and a temporary covering for sin is no longer necessary. God is the same yesterday, today and for ever, and that applies especially to His entire Word.
We can grow skilled in the entire word, when we understand that the Bible is types of things that happen, and it is the story of one man and his family and all the people that come in contact with this family. With God's help you can come out of confusion, and when your own life gets messed up, His Word applies to you, and gives you the answers.
Ezra 5:3 "At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar-boznai, and their companions, and said thus unto them, "Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?"
We see here that Haggai and Zecharaiah's prophecies were listen to, and the Jews are back to work on the Temple. As the work started, here came a different set of people to interfere with God's work. Kenite scribe Sunshine [Shimshai] is now replaced by scribe Shethar-boznai, and his new set of companions. Governor Rehum has been replaced by governor Tatnai, and the new governor is now going to governor Zerubbabel of the Jews to see just who gave them permission to stare rebuilding the Temple.
Friend, if ever you listen to God's Word, this is your advise in building God's Temple. First of all you have to have the wisdom of the word of God, to know how to proceed. These foreigners had received written orders from the king to stop, and they stopped the Jews in force. However, following the words of God through the prophets, they have started to build again.
Now we have this new group of scribes [lawyers] and companions, and lets now see who we are to approach such an attack by these Godless men.
Ezra 5:4 "Then said we unto them after this manner, "What are the names of the men that make this building?"
The first thing these scribes do is try to find the leadership of what ever is bothering them, and then they attack that person. There is nothing new under the sun. This is how Satan works, and this is how his children, the Kenite scribes work also. When they attack you today for stand against the things of Satan, and ask you "Who allowed you to start your building on the Temple of God [the body of believers of Jesus Christ]? What is your response?
Of course the men responsible were the prophets of God. They told the Jews to look at how far they have sunk, and gone down hill; now get off your rears and get back to work. The same heavenly Father that told Haggai and Zechariah what to say, is giving you the same message today. God works through people to get His work done, He gives you the choice of being part of that work, or being an outsider to Him.
Ezra 5:5 "But the eye of their God was upon 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."
This term, "Jews" is incorrect from the Massorah text, it should read, "Judah". The term "Jews is in reference to Judah, Benjamin, part of Levi, and also included this large group of Kenite scribes and Nephinims that attached themselves to Judah.
These elders of Judah did not take the credit for what they were doing, but placed the cause of their actions as being that "the eyes of God was upon them". They could not go against God. When God gives you a task to do, He also sends His Spirit to guide you and assist you in getting the task done. These Kenite lawyers were now having problems fighting God, they could attack a man successfully, but to fight God took a little more thinking, and action.
They can see now that "The eye of God" wants His Temple built, and these heathen bunch of lawyers are really getting upset. It is no difference today, as this same type of Kenite scribes, and their leaders are systematically trying to dismantle the Temple of God, and they will be unsuccessful. God Temple is being built up. and the elect of God are coming awake as to what the times and events are; and God Temple will be completed.
Remember these two Temples are types of each other. God's Temple of Ezra's time, and the Temple of the body of believers of Jesus Christ, that comprise the Temple of today. When you do things God's way you will be successful.
Ezra 5:6 "The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar-boznai, and his companions the Apharsachites, which were on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king:"
They are going back to the king again, only king Artaxerxes has been replaced by king Darius in Persia [which rules the world]. This is what they said to the king.
Ezra 5:7 "They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus; "Unto Darius the king, all peace."
Ezra 5:8 "Be it know unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands."
Notice that in the letter they do show respect for God, because the can feel that the "eye of God" is upon them. These stones were to big to be carried and had to be moved by rolling. They were rough and unpolished, as was in king Solomon's Temple.
Ezra 5:9 "Then asked we those elders, and said unto them thus, "Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls?
As you do your work to help in the building of Christ's Temple, and work to build up the body of believers, you will also be asked to give reason of who told you to do it, and why are you doing thus?
Ezra 5:10 "We asked their names also, to certify thee, that we might write the name of the men that were the chief of them."
Ezra 5:11 "And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up."
Notice that "The one and only God" is named, and not "gods" plural. This of course is in reference to Solomon's building of the Temple of God. David founded the city of Jerusalem, after he took it from the Jebusites, and Solomon [David's son] build God's Temple there. Jerusalem means, "the city of peace".
Ezra 5:12 "But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the People away into Babylon."
These Kenites are writing here what the fathers of Judah had told to them, not in respect to the Jews, but in fear of the eye of the God of Heaven. This is history as to why and how Judah came to be in the place that they were, in rebuilding the Temple of God. This is also a type that applies to us today, for in Revelation 17:5 this "Mystery, Babylon the great" returns, and the Nebuchadnezzar of the end of this earth age, is the Antichrist.
The prophets went back in the Scripture writings that accounts to what happened, and give legal ownership and claim to the "God of heaven's" children for what has to be done, and what they are doing. The Word of God is our deed, and our inheritance.
Ezra 5:13 "But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God."
Now do you see why God sir named, or named Cyrus long before he was born? It was even recorded in the book of the king's of Persia, that this fact came to pass and it did come true.
Ezra 5:14 "And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them into the the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor:"
Sheshbazzar is the Aramic name for the Hebrew person of Nehemiah. It was Nehemiah that received the order to do the building, even tough Zerubbabel was the governor to Jerusalem, and laid the foundation to the Temple. Remember, Haggai prophesied that Zerubbabel would lay the first stone, and he did.
Ezra 5:15 "And said unto him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in his place."
This is still the letter that the Kenite scribe, Shethar-boznai and his companions wrote, and this information is actually written in the records of the Persian king. The scribes don't think it is true, and this is why they are tempting the king. It worked for the scribe Shimshai, but we now have another king on the throne.
Ezra 5:16 "Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that thine even until now hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished."
This is a real disgrace in the eyes of God, and the scribes ar proud to state the fact. These Jews have allowed God's house to come second, and placed their own houses in a higher position. Today God's house is not a building and four walls. It is not a meeting place, but it is the many membered body of Jesus Christ. It is made up of believers and doers of God's Word. That is the Temple of God, and all those that are in this Temple of God are those that believe on His Name, and do the work of the Father, and are guided by His Word. When the blessings of God are upon you, then the building of His Temple is made easy. However, when you allow self to enter in, then God's work is not being accomplished.
Ezra 5:17 "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."
Do you see the difference that the "eye of God" can make in your efforts. When the men of Judah left God out of their lives and efforts, everything was against them, and the Temple sat untouched for years. When we also leave God out of our lives, we also simply do not achieve the work that has been given us to perform in the building of God's Temple today.
God's word has been presented by these scribes, and now the Spirit of God will do the work in the mind of king Darius. The king does not know what has happened, or decreed for this small community in a far off part of his kingdom in the past, but he is about to make it the most important part of his rule.
When we do things God's way and put His work first, then God will bless the things you do and the work that you perform in the building of His Temple of today. When you use God's principles you will move up in all that you do, and you will be successful. Just like we will see that God Spirit controls the mind of king Darius, so also God controls the minds of those over you, when you do it His way.
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