"The Return Under Ezra, Artaxerxes; Decree."
This Bible Study is provided by http://www.theseason.org/ with permission from it's author R. Christopherson
Ezra 7:1 "Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,"
This listing of parentage is given strictly to prove that Ezra is of the lineage of Aaron.
Ezra 7:2 "The son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,"
Ezra 7:3 "The son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,"
Ezra 7:4 "The son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,"
Ezra 7:5 "The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest:"
This lineage of Ezra is to show us that Ezra was not of the lineage of Aarons two sons that played with strange fire, but came from Aaron's true son Eleazar. We can compare this with I Chronicles 6:15 which shows us that Ezra was the brother to Jehozadak, and the uncle to the high priest Joshua. When Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, and took away king Zedekiah, Ezra was very young and deported also. And now we see Ezra returning to Jerusalem seventy years later. Eleazar is the Hebrew form of the Greek word "Lazarus".
Ezra 7:6 "This Ezra went up from Babylon;; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him."
Remember that Babylon means confusion. The description of Ezra as a "ready scribe" is better translated "skilled". Ezra knew the law of Moses, and He knew how to apply all parts of the law. In fact both Ezra and Nehemiah were scribes and God assigned them to the task of writing the Massoretic text.
Ezra had the credentials, and he was a good man with many skills. However when he was taken away from the practice of the Temple sacrifices, and rituals for seventy years, some of the strictness of the priesthood slipped. Ezra knew the Law of Moses, he knew Numbers 3:6-10 that forbid the actions of the next verse, yet Ezra allowed it to happen. Why? It is easy to fall into a state of tradition over a period of years, and fall away from the path you know to be true.
It is just like buying the new appliances when they come on the market. They save time and effort, and that is what it amounted to when the Nethinims [Kenites] took over the wood chopping in Solomon's day, and now three centuries later these Kenites are sitting in the seat of Moses, and taking charge of the duties of keeping the records. There is nothing new under the sun, the nature of man is to become lazy, and sluff-off the duties off on others, and the Kenites, the sons of Satan through Cain, were more then willing to take control of the Temple of God, and be able to change God's Words, and confuse God's People.
Keep in mind also that it was the laziness of the people of the "House of Israel" and their king that caused those ten tribes to fall into calf worship. They became to lazy to go down into Israel to worship in the Temple at Jerusalem, so they made an easier method of worshipping God. When others are willing to plan your worship studies for you, it is time to be aware. They are not the one that has to answer for your laziness...You Are!
So as we continue, keep in mind that Ezra is of the right lineage, he is highly skilled, and he is able to undertake what is about to be done.
Ezra 7:7 "And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king."
The next time you read about the Nethinims [Kenites] in this Book of Ezra, we will see that they have elevate themselves. They are going to put the ministers lower and following themselves, and they can do this because the Levites and priests have allowed them to be their scribes. Remember that "he who writes history, controls history. The scribes duties were boring, and thus it was inviting to allow them to fill those positions.
Ezra is now allowing them to fill the liturgical duties when he knows better, because he is skilled in the laws of Moses, and as a scribe. These Nethinims are not even suppose to be in the city or camp of Israel, and here Ezra is allowing these Satanic people [Kenite-Nethinims] to even perform the duties of the Levitical priests.
Ezra 7:8 "And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king."
Ezra 7:9 "For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him."
It took Ezra and the group of people, including these outcast Nethinims four months to reach Jerusalem. This trip went from Ur of Babylon, in the southern Iraq of today, and the total journey was a distance of just over twelve hundred miles. That is the distance from Chicago to Denver. In fact the Iraqi government is in the process of rebuilding that ancient city of Ur, however this rebuilding has nothing to do with Biblical Prophecy, because the Babylon of the end times is "Mystery, Babylon, the mother of Harlots" It is a religious system, and the harlots are the religions of the world that have become harlots to the Antichrist's rule that is now taking form. Upon the arrival of the Antichrist, Satan, to earth, all religious forms will form into one and follow the "Mother" or founder of them all.
Friend, True Christianity is not a religion [form] but it is a reality, and God's Elect know the fake christ [Satan-the Antichrist], from the True Christ [Jesus Christ]. And the fact that the false christ will come at the fifth trumpet and coming prior to the True Christ, Jesus Christ. The elect will simply not be taken in by the deceptions of the Antichrist.
Ezra 7:10 "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments."
Ezra's heart is in the right place, and he is seeking to do the law of the Lord, to teach and instruct on setting up the right system governing the people from the Word of the Scriptures. Not everybody has their heart in the right order when they set out to teach others in the Word of God. Ezra is a skilled teacher in the laws of Moses.
We will see in the next chapter where there is special duties in the priesthood. Some are teachers, while others are not skilled in teaching and instruction, and are confined to giving the sacrifices and other duties. Just like today, there should be a balance of supporting each other in the duties of the Temple, which is the building up of the many membered body of Christ. Romans 12:4-7 tells us that every member of that body, or Temple does not have either the same office, or the same gifts.
Ezra 7:11 "Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Exra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of His statutes to Israel."
We see here that both king Cyrus and king Artaxerxes were very much aware of Ezra's skills, and now we will see this great responsibility that the king is giving Ezra, is in writing. We are leaving the Hebrew language again, in the Hebrew text, and going to the Aramic, the world language of both the day and king Artaxerxes.
Ezra 7:12 "Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Exra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time."
"King of kings", because Artaxerxes and the Medo-Persian empire rules the world, since the fall of Babylon.
Ezra 7:13 "I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee."
This decree is in the Chaldee and not in the Hebrew. Remember that most of these prists are not Levites, as we will see, but are the Nephinim. We will see also in the next chapter of Ezra that in fact there is not one Levite in their midst. The Kenites are filling the roll of the priests, and have placed themselves on the rolls of the other tribes. This is the same thing happening today that had happened then, and God's people are just as ignorant of this fact now as they were then.
King Artaxerxes is a heathen Persian king, and we see here that God has touched the king's mind to allow anyone under his realm to leave of their own free will. God has made him aware that if he and his sons really want to be blessed, he had better take good care of Ezra and Israel.
Ezra 7:14 "Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand;"
Notice here that "Judah" is translated properly, for the word "Jews" included the scum [Nethinim] that have infiltrated into the ranks of the priests and scribes. "Judah" includes only those of full blood tribe of Judah, and the tribe of Benjamin, with part of the tribe of Levi, which was referred to as "the House of Judah" prior to the fall to Babylon.
To simplify what this document to Ezra is; it is the legal authority given from the king to Ezra to act on behalf of the king in fulfilling the reconstruction of the Temple and the reinstituting all of the worship within that Temple. That worship applied to all areas of the lives of those people under that worship, which are the sacrifices given to God and laws given to Moses by God.
Ezra 7:15 "And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,"
Even this heathen king [Artaxerxes] knows that the place of worshipping the God of Israel has to be in Jerusalem.
Ezra 7:16 "And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the People, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:"
Artaxerxes is allowing God's people a free reign in all matters concerning their freewill position to worship as God would have them to worship. There are no restrictions to Judah's worshipping.
Ezra 7:17 "That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem."
The king is not only sending Ezra and the rest of the people off to Jerusalem, but he is giving the provision to guarantee the success of the trip and their worshipping.
Ezra 7:18 "And what so ever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God."
You talk about giving a person a free hand, this king is telling Ezra to take the gold and the silver, and use it for the Temple, or for yourselves. Do with it as it pleases you, and with no accounting for it. Artaxerxes is showing his love and trust for a man of God.
Ezra 7:19 The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem."
The king is looking out for the things that belong to the almighty God.
Ezra 7:20 "And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king's treasure house."
Ezra now has a blank check to the entire wealth of the kingdom. The king is saying, this is what I think you need, but if it isn't enough here is the keys to my storehouse, just go and take what you want.
Ezra 7:21 "And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,"
Do you see how accurately the king gives Ezra's credentials? This authority is not just given to the kings storehouse in Persia and Babylon, but even in the area around Jerusalem. This decree is a direct order to the kings accountants and storekeepers wherever Ezra goes.
Remember the letter by the governor Tatnai, and his scribe Shethar-boznai in the sixth chapter? That letter woke up the king, and what they had meant for evil, God turned it to good. From that inquiry, the King became aware of God's dealings with Cyrus, and Artaxerxes took on the same mind of Cyrus [God's servant].
The king is saying that he doesn't want anything to slow the process of the building of the Temple of God. I want it to be done now and quickly. Though the king may know many gods, he now knows that Ezra's God is the "true God of the heavens". That God brings blessings and the king wants part of those blessings.
Ezra 7:22 Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil and salt without prescribing how much."
The king is saying just take it in your work for God.
Ezra 7:23 "Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?"
This is a heathen king speaking, and now we see why the king is so committed to the support of Ezra. The king knows that the God of heavens wrath can com down on him and his household, and he doesn't want even the slightest chance of that happening.
King Artaxerxes has been visited by "the God of heaven", and he knows the power and authority of God, just as king Cyrus did. He chose to give Ezra the full power and authority to see that God's house and Worship would be fulfilled. This was even written in the language of the heathen so there would be no confusion, and it shows how God can protect you in times of trouble and need, if you will let him.
Ezra 7:24 "Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them."
Well, did you catch these Kenite scribe move themselves ahead of even God's ministers? There is no tax, free living, and the key to the kings storehouse. Sounds like the welfare system of today.
We will see in the next chapter that this second move of people into Jerusalem was all men that are named, and that doesn't mean that there are no Israelite women with them, but in large part, this is the reason for the large numbers of wives taken by them that had to be set aside. Then also scattered amongst them are these large numbers of "Nethinims", or heathen "given" in the service of the Lord, and taking over the duties of the Levites.
"Nethinim" comes from the word "Nathen", which means "given". They are given into the service of the Temple, when the Levitical law forbids them to even be within their midst. It is the principle of the thing. Now we see that these Nethinim [Kenites] have moved themselves up in the temple of God, and Ezra and the others have allowed it. they have even taken the name "priests".
Who does your thinking for you concerning the Temple, which is the body of Christ? The teaching you accept as being of God, are they truly of God, or are they of the traditions of men? The Bible is God talking directly to you, and that is why it is important that when you read the words in the Scriptures, that you read it with understanding. It is dangerous to let someone between you and the altar of God, especially when God has told you in His Word that He find to be an abomination to Himself.
Ezra 7:25 "And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the People that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of they God; and teach ye them that know them not."
Remember a heathen king is writing this. Many ministers teach that this teaching that is being required is to all people, and we know that in Christ it does; but this is the time dispensation of the law, and the law of Moses is given only to the Israelites, and not humanity at large.
Ezra 7:26 "And what so ever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment."
We see that in the king's letter [decree] the law of the land will be made up by Ezra, and will consist of both the laws of Moses, and the existing law under king Artaxerxes, and when those laws are violated, the punishment will also be established by Ezra, and the king's authority is given to him to carry it out.
Ezra 7:27 "Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, Which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem:"
Now with Ezra now in control and the king's letter finished, the Massorah text now switches back to the Hebrew language. This looks like good time ahead, Judah has Ezera in control, and all men of Judah have the right to go of their own freewill, and the king's treasury will eve pay their way, and free them of taxes. They can now go and build the Temple, and worship as they desire.
Ezra knows that God Himself placed these things in the heart and mind of that heathen king. It is important for us to remember that God can change the very mind of those who are against you, your enemy. Our Heavenly father controls this entire world, and you as a believer, when that crises comes even in business or on the job, God can change minds to satisfy your needs. I truly believe that when minds are changed, God will not only bless you, but also the one that whose mind was changed, for having been an assistance to you. God loves His children, and it pleases Him to please them, especially when they ask.
Ezra 7:28 "And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king's mighty princes. And it was strengthened as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me."
Ezra knows that it was God that has allowed everything that took place to happen, from the decree of the king to the selection of the men that will be appointed as Ezra's counsellors. Ezra is now ready to gather the men together, and go to Jerusalem. This chapter continues right into Ezra Chapter eight.
Plough .~ Seeds .~ Vine .~ Potter .~ Seasons .~ Sonshine .~ Rain .~ Field