Ezra 5:Rebuilding Begins Anew
1 Now the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them.
2 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.
3 At the same time Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and their associates came to them and spoke to them thus: "Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?"
4 They also asked them this: "What are the names of the men who are building this building?"
5 But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them until the report should reach Darius and then an answer be returned by letter concerning it.
Tattenai's Letter to King Darius
6 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and his associates, the governors who were in the province Beyond the River, sent to Darius the king.
7 They sent him a report, in which was written as follows: "To Darius the king, all peace.
8 Be it known to the king that we went to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built with huge stones, and timber is laid in the walls. This work goes on diligently and prospers in their hands.
9 Then we asked those elders and spoke to them thus: 'Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?'
10 We also asked them their names, for your information, that we might write down the names of their leaders.
11 And this was their reply to us: 'We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.
12 But because our fathers had angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house and carried away the people to Babylonia.
13 However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, Cyrus the king made a decree that this house of God should be rebuilt.
14 And the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple that was in Jerusalem and brought into the temple of Babylon, these Cyrus the king took out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;
15 and he said to him, "Take these vessels, go and put them in the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its site."
16 Then this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and from that time until now it has been in building, and it is not yet finished.'
17 Therefore, if it seems good to the king, let search be made in the royal archives there in Babylon, to see whether a decree was issued by Cyrus the king for the rebuilding of this house of God in Jerusalem. And let the king send us his pleasure in this matter."
Ezra 6:The Decree of Darius
1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in Babylonia, in the house of the archives where the documents were stored.
2 And in Ecbatana, the capital that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found on which this was written: "A record.
3 In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king issued a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be rebuilt, the place where sacrifices were offered, and let its foundations be retained. Its height shall be sixty cubits and its breadth sixty cubits,
4 with three layers of great stones and one layer of timber. Let the cost be paid from the royal treasury.
5 And also let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought back to the temple that is in Jerusalem, each to its place. You shall put them in the house of God."
6 "Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and your associates the governors who are in the province Beyond the River, keep away.
7 Let the work on this house of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site.
8 Moreover, I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God. The cost is to be paid to these men in full and without delay from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province from Beyond the River.
9 And whatever is needed---bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require---let that be given to them day by day without fail,
10 that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.
11 Also I make a decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and he shall be impaled on it, and his house shall be made a dunghill.
12 May the God who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who shall put out a hand to alter this, or to destroy this house of God that is in Jerusalem. I Darius make a decree; let it be done with all diligence."
The Temple Finished and Dedicated
13 Then, according to the word sent by Darius the king, Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates did with all diligence what Darius the king had ordered.
14 And the elders of the Jews built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They finished their building by decree of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia;
15 and this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.
16 And the people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.
17 They offered at the dedication of this house of God 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel 12 male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
18 And they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their divisions, for the service of God at Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.
19 On the fourteenth day of the first month, the returned exiles kept the Passover.
20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together; all of them were clean. So they slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves.
21 It was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile, and also by everyone who had joined them and separated himself from the uncleanness of the peoples of the land to worship the LORD, the God of Israel.
22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
Things to think about…
1.Work continues on the temple after Haggai and Zechariah began their ministries. The second temple is often called Zerubbabel's temple, Ez 5:2 and the work restarts in 520BC. The governor of Judea, Tattenai does not want to offend Persia and hence sends a letter to see if Cyrus gave the initial decree to rebuild to confirm that he didn't have a fraud letter from the Jews. The laws of the Medes and Persians could not be changed. Once a decree was made, it could not be reversed. None knew that more than king Darius who was presently on the throne. Darius had been blessed by the prophet Daniel and word was being sought from him regarding the initial decree by Cyrus to build the temple. We don't have the background story but it is likely Daniel's witness to Darius was also an influence on the building of the temple at Jerusalem. Remember Daniel was accused of going against Persian law by praying 3 times towards Jerusalem as instructed by Solomon's prayer when they went into exile for rebellion. Jerusalem and the temple were very much on the heart of Daniel and one cannot help to think that Daniel would have discussed these matters with Darius. The one who was delivered from the mouth of lions would also deliver from the detractors of the those who were re-building the temple.
2.In Ez 6:1-12 a search of the royal documents was completed and confirmed Cyrus' decree. Moreover the building dimensions are given, Ez 6:3, 4. More than this the cost of re-building was to be covered from royal Persian revenue, Ez 6:8, plus whatever else was needed, even supplying animals for sacrifices , vss 9, 10. Have a look at the punishment the king asks for in vs 12 regarding anyone who destroys the house. Has this been fulfilled? Does it have any significance for any future temple in Jerusalem? I believe it does (Herod's temple and the words of Jesus). What are your thoughts on other future temples that the enemies of God try to destroy (cf Rev 20)? The Lord Jesus will build His house, it will be one of prayer and praise. In our day we are limited in our gathering, but the Lord will use it as a time of regrouping where the Word of God will go out even more than it has done in the past. I believe many will come to Christ through this season.
3.The exact day and year are given in Ez 6:15 for the temple completion date. We can be sure it was finished in the year 516BC – the sixth year of the reign of Darius. Even though the numbers of bulls, rams and lambs was insignificant compared to that of Solomon's temple dedication of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep, 1Kings 8:63. It was still blessed with celebration. We do not despise the day of small mercies. What small mustard seed beginning has the Lord blessed in your life? May He do it again.
4.After the Levites were set apart and the temple is finished the Passover is kept, Ez 6:19-22. Note again that it wasn't just the Israelites that were celebrating, but "everyone who had joined them and separated himself", vs 21. This included the Gentiles. Here we see the grace of the Lord being extended to other nations. They also praise God for secular help in achieving the result. We should not only pray for our leaders, but also ask that the Lord's favour be upon them to support the church in any way they can.
CBC's Vision :- To be a growing biblical church community, significantly influencing our city and beyond, through intentional outreach, fulfilling our mission.
1.Corona virus and how churches in Australia and around the world will appropriately deal with this pandemic.
2.Live streaming our services from the 29th March.
3.Podcast logo completed. Podcast is entitled "Face and Faith". Coming shortly
4.Sunday's message on Ezra – Andrew Otte.
5.Sick, elderly as they recover. Graheme Monteith at home with leg infection – Cellulitis. Pray for the elderly win our church who are susceptible to lung infections.
6.Work being done at Darrel and Jean's this Sat morning.
7.Finish "Bean Redeemed" coffee shop and podcast area.
8.Church finances to meet our expenses.
9.Our City and Country – Pray for revival over our city and the leadership of our country.
1.Swift response to the virus in Australia
2.Praise the Lord for more new people to CBC.
3.New Website and Podcast logo completed – Praise God for Melody and Suzie making this happen.
4.Recharge blessed again – thankyou leaders. New youth (who have never been to church).
5.Unity, peace and Christ's love over our church.
1.Horne - Hosting, on Sunday morning. No café or morning tea this Sunday.
2.Bean Redeemed café will be closed until further notice.
3.No Kids@Church until further notice.
4.No Recharge youth until further notice.
5.No Axiom evening services until further notice.
6.Saturday Men's activity – 28th March helping at Darrel and Jean's place. House tidy working bee. 8:00am start. Contact Tim or Steve for more details.
7.Combined Church youth event – Postponed until further notice.
March catechism question...
Q. 10. What is the third petition?
A. "Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."
Bible Reference – Matt.6:10; Luke 11:2.
"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" Jer 33:3