This Bible Study is provided by http://www.theseason.org/ with permission from it's author R. Christopherson
Ezra 8:1 "These are now the chief of their fathers, and this is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon in the reign of Artaxerxes the king."
This is the second trip from Babylon to Jerusalem, and we can see that some of the names of those on the second trip were also on the first trip with Zerubbabel. Basically everyone mentioned down to verse fifteen are Israelites. This is the Genealogy tribe by tribe. Lets go now to verse fifteen.
Ezra 8:2 "Of the sons of Phinehes, Gershom: of the sons of Ithamar; Daniel: of the sons of David; Hattush."
Ezra 8:3 "of the sons of Shechaniah, of the sons of Pharosh; Zechariah: and with him were rekoned by genealogy of the males an hundred and fifty."
Ezra 8:4 "Of the sons of Pahath-moab; Elihoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males."
Ezra 8:5 "Of the sons of Shechaniah; the son of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males."
Ezra 8:6 "Of the sons of also of Adin; Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males."
Ezra 8:7 "And of the lons of Elam; Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males."
Ezra 8:8 "And of the sons of Shephatiah; Zebadiah the son of Michael, and sith him fourscore males."
Ezra 8:9 "Of the sons of Joab; Obadiah the son of Jehieland with him two hundred and eighteen males."
Ezra 8:10 "And of the sons of Shelomith; the son of Josiphiah, and with him an hundred and threescore males."
Ezra 8:11 "And of the sons of Bebai; Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight males."
Ezra 8:12 "And of the sons of Azgad; Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him an hundred and ten males."
Ezra 8:13 "And of the last sons of Adomikam, whose names are these, Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them threescore males."
Ezra 8:14 "And of the sons also of Bigvai; Uthai, and Zabbud, and with them seventy males."
Ezra 8:15 "And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the People and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi."
So we see that from the legal stand point there is nothing in the way from the building of the Temple, the returning to Jerusalem, setting up the laws of the land and worshipping as the Lord God has required of them. God has straightened out the paths, and now about sixteen hundred men are getting ready to depart.
"Ahava" simply means "water", but that is also the name of this city. All these people had now gathered at this city, and formed their campgrounds, in preparation for the long trip to Jerusalem. Ezra went around the camp on those first three days to take an inventory as to who he had, and what provisions were yet needed. The first thing that stood out to Ezra was the fact that though they had priests in the camp to go back to Jerusalem, none of them were of the Levitical priesthood. They were all Nethinims, every last one of them.
Remember from the last chapter, Ezra was established as skilled of the laws of Moses, and it was a requirement of God that only those of the lineage of Aaron were allowed as authorized by God in the priesthood. Ezra had all the money that he needed to build the Temple, and place within it the furniture and items for sacrifice and worship, but there were no men to do the worship God's way. Aside from Ezra, there is not one single Levite priest in the whole bunch.
Those Kenite priests that have promoted themselves into God's service, from the wood cutters, the scribes, and now even the priests. Don't forget the origin of the Kenites; they are the very blood sons of Satan and his sexual union with mother Eve, through their son Cain, in the Garden of Eden. The number in Strong's Exhaustive concordance, and Bible Hebrew dictionary is # 7014 and # 7017. These are the ones that are now trying to sit in the seat of Moses as the priests of God service.
It all started with the woodcutting service in Solomon's Temple, the through the years assumed other Temple duties. In Babylon the Kenites took on the roll of scribes, and then were in the first wave of migrants that returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel [I Chronicles 2:55]. Now they are the only ones that are putting themselves in the position of priests and teachers of God's Word, and this is what is giving Ezra a great deal of trouble.
So what is the point to make here? You can have all the legal papers you want to build a church, the government papers, denominations papers, money, ground, followers, and every thing else; but if you don't have a man of God to teach you, all your efforts are worthless. The outcome will be no different then any other form of religion on the face of the earth, that God said he hates. You have to have a person of God with the gifts of God to lead the congregation, to be blessed of God.
In spite of the open check book that king Artaxeraxes had given freely to them to build the temple, Ezra now realizes that without the Levitical priests, he has nothing, and cannot do any part of what has to be done. He will not please God. You can't build a work of God, without a servant present.
Ezra 8:16 "Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chiefmen; also for Joiarib, and for Elnathan, men of understanding."
These are not teachers, or Levite priests, but men chosen by Ezra to to be counselors. We are in the boon-docks, about to make a long trip back to Jerusalem to do a great task. Ezra is so proud that everything is going so good, and then he finds out he doesn't have a one Levitical priest. Though the Nethinims were not named in the list, they were there, and they were the false priests and scribes present. No look at who Ezra sends after the Levitical priests.
Ezra 8:17 "And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and told them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God."
Do you understand what is taking place. The messenger going back to the head of the church is a Nethinim, and those even in the head position are Nethinim. Ezra did not even send an Israelite back to get them. By this verse we see that the Kenites have taken over the Levitical priesthood. Ezra did not send this Nethinim messenger to a chief Levite priest to get down here and bring more Levite priests with you; but the messenger went to another Kenite [Nethinim] account and said send me some Levitical priests.
It is obvious that the Kenites have already taken over the Temple totally, from top to bottom. You can have all the money in the world, just as Ezra had, but he still had nothing without a true Levite preforming the duties; all the duties. Ezra was a good man with a lot of wisdom, but we see that he was taken in by the Kenite tradition, just as the church world today has become. Though God's word said "don't use the Kenite [Nethinim], or even mix with them", yet because of tradition from Solomon's days to Ezra, Ezra followed tradition.
Ezra 8:18 "And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding, the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen."
Do you think God is trying to tell us something here? "Mahli" means "sick". Eighteen in Biblical numerics means bondage, sick bondage.
Ezra 8:19 "And Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, and brethren and their sons, twenty;"
So now we have thirty seven out of the sick house of Levi. So how does this balance out with the total number of Kenites [Nethinims] also in the same position, and that will rule over these thirty seven of the Levi clergy.
Ezra 8:20 "Also of the Nethinims, whom David and the princes had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinims: all of them were expressed by name."
Now here is the problem, and this problem that started here extended through the time Jesus Christ was on the earth as a man, and right down to our present day. This lazy "David", who ever he is, has just recruited two hundred and twenty Nethinims, imported to do the service for God, when God Himself said He detested them. In that the Kenites are in charge of the records keeping, and the accounting, they now are placing titles and respect upon themselves. The Priest, the Doctor, The Pastor, the Right reverend or what ever title sounds good in the ears of the people.
The Kenites are now in the position to say what is right or wrong, they establish the standard to fit their satanic order, and the position of the mans ability to fill the priestly duties are now determined by them. Here Ezra sits in the boon-docks and is allowing these Kenite [Nethinim] to send him support for this new Temple of God. Do you get what is happening.
Remember that in the first group of people that went to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel there were three hundred and ninety two, and now there are two hundred and twenty more of these scabs going. I'm sure the thirty seven of Levi will get the wood cutting chores. There are six hundred and twelve Litergical Nethinim, and this would be a major denomination of today.
Think of this though; Who ordered the Levites into service? The chief Nethinim [Kenite], and if you were a Nethinim and trying to get your people to take over the True God's Temple, would you send to help Ezra, to try to satisfy this old soldier of God? Do you think they were the sharpest of the Levites? No and that is why God made sure that the first boy mentioned was named "sick" [Mehli].
We see that four hundred and ten years later when Christ walked the earth the entire priesthood was entirely sick, and in fact it was them that killed the Messiah, and blamed brother Judah for their evil deeds. Jesus Christ saw through them, as did the disciples, and all of God's elect. The Bible is God telling His people just how the world would grow into the condition that it would become before His return. When we read God's Word we are to read it using the common sense that God gave each of us.
The question is; can you read and see through the simplicity of His word that Christ taught. This is what should be given through a gifted teacher.
Ezra 8:21 "Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of Him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance."
This sounds like a good way for Ezra to open up the journey, and ask God to bless the way. However Ezra is ashamed for the position he is now in. He has a lot of gold and silver, and a four month trip ahead of them.
Ezra 8:22 "For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, "The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him; but His power and His wrath is against all them that forsake Him."
Ezra is ashamed to go to the king and say, "We need protection?" Ezra is skilled in the Laws of Moses, and in the blessings and curses of the law. Ezra now knows that the entire priesthood has been infiltrated from top to bottom with Nethinims [Kenites] and Ezra knows how God feels toward mixing with them, and even allowing them near His Temple.
Ezra opened his big mouth in faith and innocence, and know he is aware of reality. The reliance that he once had is lost and now he stands before the king ashamed. Ezra is now using just plain common sense in seeking protection for the wealth in property that he will now be caring.
Today we are to apply the same common sense in protecting our own family and property. When we have done all that we can, then God will take care of the rest, when we place ourselves in His care. If you were asked what this chapter is all about? It is about the building of the Temple where Ezra has all the wealth and men needed to build the Temple, including the backing of the law and the government, and Ezra is left with no acceptable priests that can perform the sacrifices and worship that are of the Levitical priesthood.
To apply this to today in lesson form. it doesn't matter how much money and haw many people desire the place of worship, for if there is no man of God gifted to teach the people then it is unacceptable before God. Friend, without that gift of understanding from God, you will not build anything.
The entire Levitical priesthood had already dispersed, and scattered with the scattering of the ten tribes of the "House of Israel" by the Assyrians years before, and what was left in Babylon to be sent to Jerusalem with Ezra was nothing more then Nethinim [Kenites], and they had total control of the priesthood of the "House of Judah". This is why through the years their worship form has become little more then the traditions of men [the Nethinim].
Ezra 8:23 "So we fasted and besought our God for this: and He was intreated of us."
When Ezra planned the best that he could, he and the others fasted and prayed to God, and God heard their requests.
Ezra 8:24 Then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them,"
So here Ezra separated twelve priests [Nethinim] and twelve Levites; there were twenty four men set aside. Sherebiah and Hashabiah were named as Livitical priest that were forced to go with Ezra, for we are told in verses eighteen and nineteen that they went not of their own free will.
Ezra 8:25 "And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel there present, had offered:"
Ezra measured the gold and vessels and made an accounting of what he had given each of these men, and they were accountable for the safe keeping.
Ezra 8:26 "I even weighed unto their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels an hundred talents, and of gold an hundred talents;"
Ezra even weighed the vessels.
Ezra 8:27 "Also twenty basons of gold, of a thousand drams; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold."
The value of the copper was because of the workmanship made upon them.
Ezra 8:28 "And I said unto them, "Ye are holy unto the Lord; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the Lord God of your fathers."
Ezra 8:29 "Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh them before the chief of the priests and the Levites, and chief of the fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the Lord."
Another words, we have weighed them to you, and when we get there we will weigh them back to make sure that everything is still there. This is not that they mistrust these men, but it is used as a method of accounting.
Ezra 8:30 So took the priests and the Levites the weight of the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem unto the house of our God."
We are to account and be careful of those things that belong to God, and God will bless you.
Ezra 8:31 "Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way."
The meaning of this verse is that God protected them all the way. They came out of Babylon [confusion], and into Jerusalem [the house of God]. The true meaning of this verse is that if you trust God and come out of confusion, God will protect and lead you all the way. That truth will set you free from all deceptions.
Ezra 8:32 "And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days."
Ezra 8:33 "Now on the fourth day was the silver and the gold and the vessels weighed in the house of our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest; and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; and with them was Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui, Levites;"
Ezra 8:34 "By number and by weight of every one: and all the weight was written at that time."
The final records were taken at the end of the trip to account of all of the Temple's worth.
Ezra 8:35 "Also the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lanbs, twelve he goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the Lord."
These offerings that were given are all listed in the Levitical Law, they are offerings of sin, ond love; however today what God wants and expects from his own is your love and faith. The offerings for sin were all covered and ended with Jesus Christ's death on the cross. God stated in one of the prophets that He does not want your burnt offerings, I want your love. Do you have an offering for Him today? It is given by telling Him that you love Him. That is when the blessing will begin to flow.
Ezra 8:36 "And they delivered the king's commissions unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river: and they furthered the People, and the house of God."
When they delivered the letter of royal decree from king Artaxerxes to his governors and lieutenants the king's men assisted them in every way possible. This ends the story of the journey back out of captivity to Jerusalem, the most favored city in the world for our Heavenly Father. God chose that city and mount Zion, and He loves it, and in Ezekiel 16 He even weds the city, using the analogy of a baby girl through adulthood. She became desirable, from the unclean birth she had, by being founded by the Jebusites and was named at that time "Jebus".
When Jebus [Jerusalem] became desirable King David conquered he and she became named "the city of peace", Jerusalem. When our Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth at the seventh trumpet, Satan will be put into the pit for the thousand years, and Jesus Christ will rule the earth from Jerusalem and his Millennium kingdom.
So now the city walls and the Temple is almost in place, and there is some form of order being restored, and it is now that Ezra sits down and starts taking inventory, however he is a little bit late in assessing the how things stand. Ezra seemed to have a good handle on the material things in order, but now we will see how the spiritual things are in order. When it came to people, he was like a lot of us, he just didn't watch the credentials of those in charge.
Ezra just didn't pay attention to the position that men were placed, as to the qualification that God set forth in His laws, as to who would serve in the Temple [the house of God]. Ezra was very careless in this matter.
Plough .~ Seeds .~ Vine .~ Potter .~ Seasons .~ Sonshine .~ Rain .~ Field